1 October 2001

Speech by Gerhard Schröder, German Chancellor, Labour Party conference, Brighton

Mr. Chairman, Dear Tony,
Mr. Secretary General,
Dear Delegates,
Dear Friends!

I have come to your party conference here in Brighton in a spirit of profound solidarity - solidarity with Great Britain, with Labour and with Tony Blair - but also in a spirit of joint responsibility, especially in the current situation of world politics and the world economy.

Dear Friends,

The past few days have been marked by impressive and encouraging progress in forging a comprehensive coalition against international terrorism.

Our two parties and the political leaders of our countries together with our other friends and partners have cooperated closely in this endeavour and have coordinated their various initiatives.

This was as necessary as it was important. Whether it was in talks with political leaders in Russia or Egypt, or also in Iran or Pakistan - we made one message abundantly clear:

We refuse to be dragged into a "Clash of Civilizations" by the terrorists. Rather, we will jointly take up the fight against terrorism, the fight for the civilisation of our one world.

The terrorist attack of September 11th has changed - but also united - our world. This was not just an attack on people and buildings, but on any form of human civilisation.

Among the thousands of victims in the World Trade Centre there were members of almost all religions and numerous nations, including many of our British and German compatriots.

This new dimension of faceless barbarism illustrates that the September 11th attack was not only directed against the USA - it was aimed at the entire civilised world, and equally so at Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other beliefs.

This was indeed an attack on the freedom of every individual: the freedom to live and work without fear.

That is also why the United Nations responded to this terrorist attack as unanimously and as clearly as rarely before.

In view of this unprecedented attack Germany and Great Britain together with our European friends unreservedly stand by the United States of America.

The EU Special Summit on September 21st also underlined our solidarity with the United States. This demonstration of unity shows that Europe is more than a free trade zone - rather, it is a political area committed to producing not only greater wealth but also greater security for all of its members.

In addition I think we can say with a certain amount of self-confidence that in view of new forms of threat we should do more to advocate the successful form of cooperative security practised in Europe as an idea to be emulated by other regions of the world.

Of course, we do not want to impose these tried-and-tested organisational patterns on others. Instead, we want to share and evaluate our experience together so that they can then build their own structures of regional stability and security.

That is precisely the reason why it was so important for Great Britain under the leadership of Tony Blair and Labour to join us and our European partners, without competitive squabbling and petty jealousies.

Europe is the most successful political project in our varied and sometimes bloody history. Europe is not only the peoples' answer to war. I am convinced that Europe will also play a vital role in the peoples' answer to terrorism.

Looking beyond Europe it must be our objective to integrate as many countries as possible into a worldwide system of security and wealth.

To this end we should, within the framework of development cooperation, also offer incentives to states that are ready to join us in the fight against terrorism.

Conversely, we should deny our cooperation to those who support terrorism.

We want to - and indeed we must - develop a comprehensive concept for the prevention and management of crises.

This concept includes cooperation on security issues - but, of course, also political, economic and cultural cooperation.

Above all, we must now make joint efforts and do everything within our power to achieve a breakthrough towards peace in the Middle East.

In this context we explicitly welcome the resumption of talks between Israel's Foreign Secretary, Shimon Peres, and the Palestinian President, Yassir Arafat.

This first sign of a rapprochement between the parties to the conflict is also, to some extent, attributable to our joint efforts as important protagonists in the European Union and the Atlantic Alliance.

The task of securing international peace inevitably means greater European responsibility.

To the USA's and Europe's previous task of collective defence against attacks by states has now been added the collective fight against terrorism. This necessitates joint action for more security and more stability in an ever more complex world.

Measures against terrorism and instability must of necessity be structured differently from defence actions against the aggression of a state.

This places very special demands both on the law enforcement authorities and on the security services as well as the military forces deployed. We should, therefore, intensify the exchange of experience on these matters in the whole of Europe.

What are the longer-term consequences for our policies that result from the international developments and the interpretation of security that I outlined?

Our first objective: To further develop the Euro-Atlantic Community as an anchor for stability.

Even under changing political conditions in Europe the Transatlantic Partnership will remain the very basis of our security. At the same time we know that joint security in Europe cannot be guaranteed without Russia.

Second objective: To strengthen Europe's capacity to act.

The European Union and the Europeans within NATO do need this increased capacity to act in security policy terms as a necessary prerequisite for a long-term, sustainable and equal partnership with our American allies and to promote closer security policy cooperation with Russia.

Thirdly - and here we agree completely with the initiative of the British government - we must improve international cooperation in order to trace and dry out the financial resources of international terrorism.

Dear Friends,

Let me conclude by quoting a comment that Tony Blair recently made in Berlin:

"There is a gathering understanding right around the world, of states in all continents, people of all faiths, parties of all democratic persuasions, that this is a fight that it is important that we undertake, and that we win."

Dear Friends,

In the current situation, together with our European and American friends we have displayed a commendable measure of restraint and level-headedness.

We must now advance the reform processes in our societies even more forcefully to enable people, not only in our own countries, but also in countries all over the world, to have a share in enjoying the fruits of progress and development.

Our countries, our societies and our parties are working together excellently towards these objectives. The German social democrats will continue to bank on this cooperation in the future.

I thank you most warmly and wish your party conference the best of success.

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