US Committed to Build a Free and Democratic Europe

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Marking the 20th anniversary of the FREEDOM Support Act, the United States of America today reaffirmed its commitment to bilding a whole, free and democratic Europe.

In his remarks on the FREEDOM Support Act: 20th Anniversary at Washington DC, Assistant Secretary Philip H. Gordon for Bureau of European and Eurasian says with the adoption of the Freedom Support Act in October 1992, the United States government showed very strong bipartisan support for providing assistance to those transitioning countries.

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Presidents Bush and Putin at the 33rd G8 summit, June 2007.

The US has developed unique mechanisms with which to establish the Europe that it is trying to achieve, Mr. Gordon underlined.

“I think we can honestly say – and be proud of what we’ve done – that today this aspiration has been largely achieved, in much of the continent, with the help of U.S. assistance through tools like the SEED Act.” -Mr. Gordon

The US government has seen Central European countries become valued members of NATO and the European Union.

“We’ve also seen significant progress in fostering Euro-Atlantic integration in other parts of Europe such as the Western Balkans.” -Mr. Gordon

According to Mr. Gordon, the United States really looks towards Europe, towards this expanding democratic, peaceful and stable Europe as a partner of first resort in confronting the global challenges that we face.

He stress that they have been very clear from the start of Obama administration that they know they can only deal with these immense global challenges if they have strong, democratic, stable and prosperous partners.

Mr. Gordon notes that over the last 20 years the United States has provided $15 billion in assistance to 12 countries of the former Soviet Union.

The US government has supported the work of NGOs to develop civil society, promote human rights, and fundamental freedoms and build independent media.

In addition, the United States has encouraged the development of market economies, including through the establishment of enterprise funds, that succeeded beyond.

“I think, anyone’s hopes and expectations and have served as a model for assistance to other transitioning countries.” -Mr. Gordon

Mr. Gordon adds that the US government has addressed transnational challenges such as stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and materials; combating violent extremism; and finding solutions to armed conflict, pandemic disease and climate change.

However, Mr. Gordon states that there’s more work to be done – notwithstanding all of the progress that he has referred to.

He pointed out that in other places in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, there has been significant back-sliding on democratic practices.

The transition to open market economies really remains incomplete, and so long as it is, social problems will still exist; corruption will continue to impede progress, he stressed.

He notes that earlier this week, the US government has seen another example of the serious challenges it still faces with the unfortunate decision of the Russian government to require the closure of USAID mission in Moscow.

“As we’ve said, we deeply regret that decision; we’re proud of everything USAID has accomplished in Russia over the past 20 years.” -Mr. Gordon

He adds that the Russian decision will remove an important element in U.S.-Russian cooperation and halt programs that have brought significant benefits to the Russian people over the last two decades.

“But I want to be clear: the United States will continue to support civil society, democracy and human rights in Russia, as we will continue our principal engagement with governments and civil society across the FREEDOM Support Act countries, in order to maintain our support for democratic and economic reforms as well as continued stability and security.” -Mr. Gordon

Almost exactly 20 years ago in October 1992 President George H.W. Bush signed the Freedom for Russia and Emerging [Eurasian] Democracies and Open Markets Act, or FREEDOM Support Act.

The FREEDOM Act has authorized the United States to provide assistance to the 12 newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.

Reports say US Congress passed the FREEDOM Support Act with overwhelming bipartisan support and the full support of the Bush administration.

There was a strong consensus at the time that the United States had to respond decisively as well as generously and creatively to the unprecedented situation that had arisen after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Freedom Support Act was intended to help the people and governments of these newly independent states navigate the difficult transition from communism to democracy and market-based economies.

As steadfast friends and with strong historical and cultural ties, the United States of America and Europe are working closely on economic agenda.

In diplomacy, the United States and Europe have never been more closely aligne.

Both parties are united in efforts to finish the business of building a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

The U.S.-European economic partnership is key to everything both want to do together around the world.

Strong economies hold out the promise of successful nations. Strong economies fund strong budgets for diplomacy, development, and defense.

Together, the United States and Europe launched the most effective system for creating broad-based economic growth and stability the world has ever seen–one that welcomed Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Economies on both sides of the Atlantic are facing fierce economic competition from more companies in more sectors in more places than ever before.

The US government calls the renewed focus on economics within its foreign policy “Economic Statecraft.”

While emerging markets capture the headlines, the U.S. economic relationship with Europe remains the largest and most complex in the world.

The US-Europe economic relationship is responsible for trade flows of about $3.6 billion… per day.

Transatlantic investment is directly responsible for roughly 7.1 million jobs, he reported.

The U.S.-European economic relationship is one of the central drivers of the world economy. To put it in perspective, the value of U.S. goods and services exports to the EU is over five times the value of our exports to China. From 2000 to 2009, over half of total U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) was in Europe.

Europe is the most important “foreign source” of jobs in America. European-owned firms in 2007 employed roughly two-thirds of the 5.5 million U.S. workers on the payrolls of all foreign firms operating in the U.S. combined. In fact, the majority of foreigners working for European-owned companies outside of the EU are Americans.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.