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Thursday, October 9, 2014


Victoria Nuland 
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Berlin, Germany
October 9, 2014

Assistant Secretary Nuland: It’s wonderful to be here with all of you at the Aspen Conference. Thank you to Aspen. Thank you to Microsoft for your support, this fantastic space. Thank you Rudy, and congrats to you as well, for receiving the Lucius D. Clay Award, which for those of you that don’t know is like the Nobel Prize for Atlanticists here in Germany. Congratulations to you.
It’s wonderful to be back in Berlin on this beautiful fall day and to kick off this conference celebrating 40 years of Aspen in Germany. So much has changed since Aspen first opened its doors here in 1974. Looking around the room I’m glad to see that most of you were not old enough to attend in 1974, but maybe a few were. Europe was divided; Bonn was Germany’s capital; and the threat of the Soviet Union loomed over free people around the world.
Of course in 1974 Germany also won the World Cup –- so not everything’s changed.
Twenty-five years ago, just meters from here, Germans of all stripes tore down the Wall and with it that world of division, oppression and tyranny that it represented, began to crack. In less than a year, Germany was whole again; Europe was reborn; and together the United States and Germany began turning our attention to supporting the nations of Central Europe as they pushed for NATO and EU membership, which they obviously succeeded in. Germany began to grow more comfortable in its European and global leadership role. First through our work together in Bosnia and Kosovo, and then in Afghanistan, and let me take this opportunity to congratulate Germany for making the next courageous global leadership decision in deciding to support the counter-ISIL fight in Iraq with strong support to the Peshmerga forces fighting ISIL.
So for 40 years, for 25 years since the fall of the Wall in particular, when we no longer had that existential threat, what’s united us is our common understanding that our security and our prosperity depended not only on each other, but on the advancing the cause of a Europe whole, free and at peace. And that Europe whole, free and at peace was not simply a security project or an economic project, it was a project based on our common values. Those values that are captured in the very first line of Germany’s Basic Law that, and I quote, “Human dignity shall be inviolable — as the basis for every community, of peace, of justice in the world.”
And today I would argue as we look at whether we still need each other, it is that fight for human dignity that continues today whether it’s in Donetsk, or in Mosul, or in any corner of the world where freedom, where rule of law, where human rights are trampled by forces who have their own divisive, violent and repressive agendas.
So when you ask at this conference whether we still need each other, the answer is absolutely clear -- now more than ever. We need it for our security. We need it for our prosperity [inaudible] depend on it. But I would also argue that the quality and effectiveness of Trans-Atlantic leadership, whether it’s at home or abroad with that strong U.S.-German engine at its core also today impacts the fact of people all over Europe and all over the world, whether they are victims of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, ISIS terror in Iraq and Syria, or Ebola’s scourge in West Africa.
And I will admit that it’s not always easy to work together. It’s not always easy to keep that fabric of unity whole. This year has tested the U.S.-German relationship. We know that. But like members of any family, sometimes we disagree; sometimes we make mistakes; we inadvertently weaken each other and weaken our bond. But when that happens, because we are family, because we need each other, because our relationship is rooted in common security, common prosperity and common values, it’s incumbent on us to fix it, and we do. We talk it out, we work it out, we establish those new habits of working together and living together that make us both stronger.
I know that the NSA revelations fueled emotions on both sides of the Atlantic and particularly here in Germany. But we are now working through it as we have done at times of stress in the past. We are tackling the issues head on, we’re addressing them quickly including through the new Chancellery-White House-led Structured Dialogue and the U.S.-German Cyber Dialogue.
This is hard, hard work. What we are trying to do is restructure our intelligence relationship for the 21st Century. I am confident that we will do it and that we will be successful at it.
As we look at the many challenges today that require our leadership there is none more existential for this continent than what we are facing together in Ukraine. It is a central test of our common resolve.
Just two days ago I stood before an audience of brilliant young students in Ukraine at Shevchenko University -- the very kids who stood just seven months ago in the snow on the Maidan fighting for their human dignity, their freedom, their opportunity, their chance to live as citizens in the U.S. live, as citizens in Germany live. They are counting on us. They are counting on our support. And throughout this crisis no country in Europe has led more strongly than Germany -- politically, economically or morally. And the United States has had no stronger partner in supporting Ukraine, in imposing costs on Russia, but also in keeping the door open for diplomatic de-escalation if that is possible with Moscow, in our own interest and in Ukraine’s interest.
Germany has led nationally and within the EU in sending humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, in opening European markets and association for Ukrainian goods, in improving energy security to keep Ukrainians and in fact all Europeans warm throughout the winter, and in helping Ukraine fight the cancer of corruption. And Germany has also led in the EU, in making it absolutely clear to Russia that when it violates basic international law, when it operates by the principle that big countries can just trample small ones at will, that there will be costs and in imposing tough sectoral sanctions on Russia and on the separatist cronies.
Today, there is a peace deal on paper in Ukraine. There is, thankfully, peace across a lot of eastern Ukraine. But as you know, the peace deal is still being violated in key sectors. If there is truly to be peace in Ukraine all 12 points of the Minsk peace deal must be implemented and we as a Trans-Atlantic community of support for Ukraine must help Ukraine insist on it. And there must be no sanctions relieved until all foreign forces and equipment have left Ukraine, until Ukrainian sovereignty over its international border has been restored, and until all of the hostages have been released.
I want to also take this opportunity to thank Germany for the support that it is offering to the OSCE as it seeks to make its services available to monitor the peace deal and to move out as peace is established in the east, and particularly in the discussion that you’re having internally on sending surveillance drones to the OSCE mission. This will be a very important confidence builder if it can be approved.
Even as we work on securing Ukraine and its democratic and European choice, we have worked together, the U.S. and Germany, across the Trans-Atlantic community to secure our NATO space and to make sure that every NATO ally knows that our Article 5 guarantee means what it says and that we will defend every inch of our space.
NATO also craves the strongest possible Germany, leading our frontline reassurance mission with soldiers, with planes with ships on the front eastern lines; training our partners; and meeting our Wales pledge to increase defense spending. Today Germans, like Americans, sit comfortably surrounded by friendly neighbors including many members of the NATO and EU family. But it wasn’t very long ago, as we have said, when the battle lines went right through Germany, right through Berlin. So there are many people in this room today who remember what that felt like, to live on the front lines. And that is precisely why we can and must work together on land, on sea and in the air to make sure every member of our NATO family feels equally secure. Feels as secure as you feel here in Berlin. Whether that means funding our militaries, whether that means modernizing our forces and making sure that the equipment works, or whether it means demonstrating our resolve to use that equipment as necessary whether in Article 5 defense or globally.
The eyes of Europe are on us. And in NATO, if Germany and the U.S. lead, others will lead as well.
Even as we shore up security in our Euro-Atlantic space, we are also united in working together globally. Today that means fighting ISIL -- militarily, politically, economically. So it’s not only about the work that we are doing together militarily, to strike ISIL at its heart with our Iraqi partners, in Syria, to strengthen training, strengthen partnership on the ground. It is also about what we do in the Euro-Atlantic space. We must work together to ensure that our homelands are a no-go area for the recruitment of foreign fighters and for the financing of this kind of poison.
We also, as we always talk about, have to fight the other global challenges. Nobody leads more strongly on this planet in climate change than Germany, and nobody sets the standard better for Europe and for the Trans-Atlantic community. And together today we are also working to fight Ebola. Not just sending our own specialists and our own equipment to the front lines of the disease, but also providing the structures where other smaller nations can join with us in making a contribution.
At the same time, and I won’t go into it too deeply because I did it last week, we must also ensure that inside our own space we are defending democracy by making sure that our own governments are clean, are transparent, are open. I speak of this less in Berlin, but particularly in Central Europe where the cancer of corruption threatens to undercut the democratic gains that have been made over 25 years, and to open a wormhole for nefarious outside influences, to undercut the democratic system, checks and balances, free media, space for civil society. The fight for democracy in our own space is not over. We have to continue to work together to protect and defend it.
And that takes me to the last area I want to talk about today, and that is our economic prosperity and the T-TIP agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that we are building together. If we do this right, T-TIP can be for our economic security and prosperity what NATO has been for our military security, and we must do it right.
It’s clear from the lively debate that’s going on in Germany and in other parts of Europe on T-TIP that we have a whole lot more work to do to explain to our people the benefits of this agreement. We have to take that time, Germans and Americans, Europeans and Americans, to explain in plain terms to our mothers, to our sisters, to our daughters, to our grandchildren what T-TIP is and what it isn’t. We have to engage civil society. We have to create those same kinds of communities of common action between government and business, civil society and local people that we created for NATO enlargement, we have to now create for T-TIP. We have to listen to the skeptics, we have to engage them, and we have to bust myths.
In fact we have to fight the fear that some are mongering around Europe with concrete facts. And here are the facts. Every dollar or euro we save our consumers in St. Louis or in Stuttgart; every dollar that we put into autoworkers' pockets in Dresden or in Detroit lifts our economies, creates jobs, and makes us stronger not only at home but also in the world.
And T-TIP is not primarily about the big guys. Microsoft knows how to work in Europe. Our companies -- Siemens knows how to work in Kansas. It is the medium and little guys who need the help that T-TIP can offer. If we do it right, T-TIP will finally open the marketplace to those medium and small businesses who have found the American market or the European market too complicated and too daunting, and that’s what we have to do. T-TIP can also, if we do that, open our marketplaces to a new burst of innovation that we do together.
And this is not simply about our own prosperity in our own space. It’s also about our leadership globally and ensuring that our free market model, our low, no-tariff model, dominates in the global conversation about world trade.
And I would argue that T-TIP’s values based case is just as important as the economic case, and just as real. In the United States, in Europe, we have to preserve the system here in our own space and globally that protects the environment, protects our workers and protects our families. T-TIP can and will set the global gold standard for trade agreements in these areas in environmental protection, in labor protection, in protection of consumers and workers. If we insist on it, and we will, and we can.
And by unlocking our combined market, we will strengthen, not undermine, our democracy. T-TIP, against popular myth, is not about forcing Europeans to eat, buy, or make things the American way. Nor will it force Americans in Kansas to eat liverwurst for breakfast. But it will give all of us more choice –- in the products that we buy and use, and it will give all of us more affordable opportunities to work together to produce more things. So choice is strength, and empowering our citizens, our producers and our consumers is also part of our common strength and part of our project together for the next 40 years of the Aspen Institute here in Berlin and around Europe.
As President Obama said before the Brandenburg Gate last year, the Wall belongs to history, but we have history to make together as well. Whether we’re talking about Ukraine, whether we’re talking about strengthening NATO, building global security democratically together, fighting back terror, strengthening our prosperity and our open global free market way of life, the United States and Europe, the United States and Germany need each other more than ever. We have to be that engine of strength and change and democracy and freedom around the world as we’ve always been.
Thank you to Aspen for what you do in that regard. I’m proud to be with you today on this 40thBirthday. Thanks.
[This is a mobile copy of Remarks at the Aspen Institute

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