Remarks by His Excellency Klaus Scharioth, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United States.
Ambassador Klaus Scharioth joins the Council to discuss Germany's Presidency of the European Union and the Group of Eight.
With the recent accession of Romania and Bulgaria, introduction of the Euro in Slovenia, and continent-wide celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome, European integration continues to move forward, increasingly uniting its citizens in a community of peace and stability, shared prosperity and values. From January to July 2007, Germany holds the Presidency of the European Union and steers an EU agenda focused on climate change, environmental and energy policy, the Lisbon Strategy and European Constitution.
Simultaneously, Germany also leads efforts to help conditions for a stable and reliable global economy as it assumes the Presidency of the Group of Eight and hosts the 33rd Summit of G8 leaders in Heiligendamm.
Dr. Klaus Scharioth (born October 8, 1946) is a German diplomat, currently Germany's ambassador to the United States.
Scharioth was born in Essen, located in the Ruhr Area in western Germany. He studied law in Bonn, Freiburg and Geneva and political science, sociology and psychology at Albertson College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. He is also a graduate of the Fletcher School, where he studied international relations, international law and international economics and received his PhD.
With the recent accession of Romania and Bulgaria, the introduction of the Euro inSlovenia and continent wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Signing of theTreaties of Rome European integration continues to move forward, increasingly unitingthe citizens in a community of peace and stability, shared prosperity and values. SinceJanuary Germany has held the Presidency of the European Union and steers an EUagenda focused on climate change, environmental and energy policy, the Lisbon Strategyand a new European constitution. Simultaneously Germany also leads effort to helpconditions for a stable and reliable global economy as it's as it also assume thePresidency of the Group of Eight and hosts the 33rd summit of G8 leaders later this monthat Heiligendamm in Germany. To discuss Germany's Presidency of the European Unionand the agenda for the upcoming G8 summit, we are delighted to have Ambassador Klaus Scharioth with us today.Ambassador Scharioth, as I learnt is not a new comer to this country, actually attendedcollege for some time in Idaho Albertson College and later at various diplomaticpositions. He has a distinguished carrier in Germany's Foreign Service in addition topostings as Germany's ambassador to Ecuador, to the permanent mission mission of theUnited States United Nations in New York. In the Federal Foreign Office he has servedas Chef de Cabinet to the NATO Secretary Generals in Brussels working there until 1996with Secretaries Worner, Claes and Solana, in addition holding high level posting underboth German Foreign Ministers, Klaus Kinkel and Joschka Fischer. He has also served asState Secretary which is the highest Civil Service post in the German Foreign Officewhere his responsibility included Security and Defense Policy, Trans Atlantic Relations,European Policy, Crisis Management, Arms Control and Disarmament, Russia, the Groupof Eight, and negotiation with Iran. That's quite a list. On March 13 2006 AmbassadorScharioth presented his credentials to President George W Bush to become Germany'scurrent Ambassador in the United States. Please join me in welcoming Ambassador Klaus Scharioth.Thank you very much for that very kind introduction. Let me first say, how much of apleasure it is to be here. Not only to be back in San Francisco, I must say last time I washere was in 1968 and it has changed a bit. I was then at Haight-Ashbury and other places,looked also a bit different from today. But it's a great pleasure to be back and thank youfor the nice introduction and it is really a privilege to be here in front of the World AffairsCouncil and be able to discuss with you. I would suggest that I limit my remarks to just afew in the beginning because I am really very much looking forward in getting into adiscussion with you and that's what I am here. I am very pleased that so good peoplelike ____ and John Bruton who both were at my place just a few days ago,in Washington, and they all followed me here which is which is very nice. I think youshould also attend their lectures. I can promise both of them are excellent and youshouldn't you shouldn't miss it.Now you know probably that Germany has taken over the EU Presidency on January 1st.The EU Presidency is always for half a year but we for the first time introducedsomething new and that is so called trio presidency. We have worked out a program forthe next three Presidencies Germany, Portugal and Slovenia. And this is this has theeffect that we have a more consistent EU policy for the next 18 months and actually wepassed this common program together already last December. And we have now let melet me explain that two main aims for our Presidency. The one aim is to make itpossible that this tremendous success story of European Union can continue. Why do Isay success story? Because I think the enlargement of the European Union, to enlarge itfrom six countries in 1957 to 27 countries today is probably the success story, the successstory of the last century and also of this century. It was not preordained that all those 27countries would be democracies today. It was not even preordained with countries likeSpain or Portugal, when they joined the European Union in 1970's that they would turnover to be liberal democracies after Franco and after Salazar. Neither was it preordainedthat the countries of middle and central Europe all would become democracies. And Ithink it's fair to say that without the European Union there wouldn't have been thisslightest chance that they all would be democracies, just compare the situation today inEurope, all democracies, with the situation between the two World Wars. And practicallynone of these countries, none of us 27, very few at least, were democracies.But how do we how can we continue this story. The problem is that what used to besuccessful, what used to be a winning formula has to be adapted to the new times to alsoto also have a chance for the future. And that means that the rules which were sosuccessful in integrating the EU of the six or EU of 12, even the EU of 15, they cantreally work in the European Union of 27 and that's why on the inspiration of Germany wedrafted a constitutional treaty in the last few years which as you know has been so farrejected by two countries, 18 countries have accepted it. But we, in our Presidency wewould like to make a proposal, how to get this constitutional treaty going again. Why is itso important, because we need to enhance Europe's capability to act. And that's the firstpoint I would like to make. It is absolutely essential and it's not only in all our Europeansinterest that this European Union is capable of acting, it's also in the US interest, becauseonly a strong Europe can be a strong partner for the United States.And that is my second point. My second point is this a strong Europe and a strong TransAtlantic partnership, they are not things which are mutually exclusive, rather they aremutually reinforcing. We need a strong Europe and we need a very strong Trans Atlanticrelationship. Europe along, even if all those 27 countries are united, is no more than eightpercent of the world population and the United States is five percent of the worldpopulation. And I believe its only those two continents with of course some somesmaller additions in in other parts, but relatively small only if, only the United Statesand Europe really share the values of the enlightenments, share the values of rule of law,of minority protection, of human rights, of democracy, of personal liberty, of free media,of all these things which seem to be so normal to us but when the chips are down it isEurope and the United States who have to defend those values and we have to overcomethe differences in interests and also define these things together. And that's why when wetook over the EU Presidency, for the very time the new EU President German ChancellorAngela Merkel made her very fist trip under the Presidency to the United States onJanuary 4th. The idea was to win the United States for common action. Why was it soimportant and why at this early stage, because we have to make a change. We can't riskcontent what we have so far today that we meet occasionally and exchange notes youknow, that's why we did this and that's why we did this and so kind of an informationafter the fact, at least information after the decision has been taken.What we need in the future is something radically different. What we need in the future isa common brainstorming is a brainstorming before we take action, before we lock inour decisions at the European Council in the Europeans case, or you in your inter agencyprocess. Just take the case of the Iraq war. I think it shows that we should have talkedmore, that we should have listened to each other better and therefore I think we shouldwe have an obligation to trying to tackle these things together and to do that we have totalk to each other much earlier. And that's why the Chancellor was here and that's whythe Chancellor met the President for long time, for more than four hours that's why theEU Commission President Barroso also came to United States very early in the year.The idea is there are so many challenges. And let me just list the most important ones, wecan discuss each of them in the discussion. We have the challenge of the proliferation ofweapons of mass destruction, a huge challenge and its a challenge because the majority ofthe countries in the world, non nuclear powers, they all believe the nuclear powers reallyhave not fulfilled the obligations and therefore there are, and people are not aware of that,more countries sympathetic to those who would also like to achieve nuclear weapons thanpeople think. And that's why we try to convince Iran to voluntarily give up the nuclearweapons program, to voluntarily give up enrichment and reprocessing, and for years wealso achieved that. But of course we have problems now and may be we can discuss thatin the discussion. But this is a huge problem. I think, if we would have a world with nolonger, officially we have five nuclear powers, nuclear weapon countries, in officially itsmore, but if you would have a world with 20 or 25 or 30 nuclear weapons countries itwould be different world and it would much less safe world and that's why Germany is somuch committed to the non proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and that's whywe work on a case like Iran so arduously. But again we can succeed only if we not onlyare united in Europe and that's why we convinced the French and British to join us in oureffort with Iran, we can only succeed if we also have the United States on board and Ithink if we would have succeeded in convincing the United States earlier our chancesmight have been better to convince the Iranians to suspend their program.So that's one, non proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Another thing is fightagainst terrorism. I think it is quite obvious that you can only succeed if we work togetheron that. But let me stress here, this is not only the thing of police working together or ofsecret services working together. It is also an effort of winning the hearts and minds oflarge part of the populations in the world. And that is the decisive thing. I think you don'twin the controversy with Osama Bin Laden by just police methods. They are sometimesnecessary. The decisive thing the decisive thing is to win the hearts of minds of Muslimworld, of those people who currently don't really have much interest in what Osama BinLaden says but who might get it if we don't watch it. And that's why we believe thatplace is like Afghanistan are so important because there, in these vacuum the Talibanallowed Al Qaeda to develop their plans to train and that's why we agreed with those whosaid we have to intervene in Afghanistan, that was right. But afterwards we have to find apolitical strategy, a political and reconstruction strategy which makes it clear thateverybody in Afghanistan is better off afterwards than before. If we don't succeed in thatwe will lose. And we can't afford to lose. And therefore I think it is so important that wenot only work together but that we have exactly the same strategy, the strategy of winningthe hearts and minds of people in Afghanistan. So that's a second point, terrorism.The third point, failed states. It is already I mentioned, Afghanistan was a typical atypically failed state. I think it was wrong that in the 1970s, 1980s and even large part ofthe 1990s, we all believed we can afford to neglect failing states, a huge mistake. A hugemistake because these failing states, like Afghanistan, they might harbor those peoplewho undermine the open society. And they might be the ones who really make itimpossible for us to continue our lives as we would like to live them. And of course theother danger is that those countries, those failed states might be harbors for organizedcrime. And I wont give you names now because probably those countries would sue mein a minute if I mentioned in which countries we are very much afraid of organized crime,but you might imagine which I have in mind, there are a quite a few, but I wont mentionthe main names. But you see we have to work there. We have to really act and we have towe have to really help those countries to overcome that organized crime takes over,because this as Afghanistan proved would be a disaster for all of us, for Europe as muchas for the United States.What are the other problems? The other problems which we only can solve together areworld poverty. I think we just cannot accept that two billion people two billion peoplein this world are hungry. Two billion people have not enough to eat and we have to dosomething about it. This is Africa, but it's not only Africa. And we just can't pretend thatwe don't see that and I think we have to join efforts to do something against that and Ithink if here Europe and America are not working together I think we will not succeed.Other problems are pandemics, I mean it's obvious that we can fight HIV AIDS and forhence as the Avian Flue only together, I don't have to explain that. I think this is quiteself evident. Then there are regional conflicts, the regional conflicts like we had in theBalkans where in 95' we all finally woke up and did something against really atrocitieswhich were being committed of course we did it a bit late, we did it at a point when 250people 250,000 were dead. But we finally did it and we did it together, Europe and theUnited States under the guidance of NATO at that time. And we learned from it becausethen a bit later we actually intervened a bit earlier in Kosovo when it was necessary andtherefore in Kosovo, we had unfortunately still about 900,000 refuges, but we had the lesspeople dead at least. So even Kosovo was a bit late. We actually did act quite wisely inthe case of Macedonia where we prevented together, America and the European Union, acivil war and we are actually practically no people were killed. So I think it shows thatif we work together in regional conflicts we can really succeed.Now the last topic I would like to mention which we really have to work together at andwhich is quite which quite has a lot of actuality is the question of energy and climatechange. I think it is quite obvious that in today's world we have a problem and this wasthe same for the United States as for Europe as far as energy is concerned because, yousee in the old days in the United States you provided much of your energy yourself, youhad very rich oil, gas and other resources here. Now these are close to being depleted andwe have a similar situation in Europe. In the old days Germany got most of its gas andmost of its oil from the North Sea. We got most of our gas and oil from countries likeBritain, from Norway, from the Netherlands; all this was comfortable and very safe. Nowthese days are gone and the the percentage of oil and gas which we get from thosecountries is continually going down just because reserves are going to be depleted. Andso we have a problem, we have to turn to countries which are further away, like theMiddle East countries or we have to counties like Russia which are also further away andyou all have read in the papers that Putin is let's put it carefully, that he knows thatenergy can be used in many ways. We can talk about that.So I think we have a common problem, we have the common problem that energyenergy supply will be less secure in the future in comparison to the past, first thing.Energy prices will rise and so I think we have a common interest in devising strategies toreduce our energy dependency. We have a common interest in devising strategies to alsoconserve energy, to make our energy use much more efficient and this is the key point,and also to avoid those effects of the climate, because there is a link between the use ofenergy and climate, I think it is beyond question. There is no doubt about it anymore. It isproven and this is why the European Union has decided in March, at the last EuropeanCouncil under our guidance, under the leadership of of the Presidency, we have decidedseveral things. First of all we have decided to cut our CO2 emissions by 2020 by 20percent. And that is quite a lot, 20 percent. We actually have also decided if the rest of theworld goes along we cut it by 30 percent. These are binding obligations. We have alsosaid that we would triple the use of alternative and renewable energy in order for twogoals, first to cut dependency to reduce the dependency on foreign supplies, on suppliesfrom those distant distant countries but second, also to reduce emissions. And currentlywe have six we have a six 6.3 percent of our energy use comes from alternative orrenewable energy and we have now engaged in a binding obligation to triple that to 20percent by 2020. And of course this is very ambitious. This will be difficult to achieve.But we actually believe that we don't have much of a choice. We don't have much of achoice because if you read all the relevant documents, there are two UN reports on that;there is the Stern report from Britain. Whatever you read I think there is not the slightestdoubt anymore, that if we don't act now we will have a problem. And that's why theEuropean Union is committed to to limiting the increase of global temperature to twodegrees Celsius this is 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Because we know I mean by all thosecalculations we know if we would increase the global temperature by more it would bedisaster. You would have the seas, the oceans rising by more than seven meters. Youwould have 100s and 1000s of people having to flee losing the place where they live.You would have tremendous and disastrous consequences. And so we have decided onthis climate goal as we say, no more than two percent two degrees two degreescentigrade increase in comparison to the times before the industrialization. We had anincrease of 0.36 degrees in the 19th century and 0.75 degrees in the 20th century. Andautomatically already we have a further increase of 0.5 degrees which comes even if youwould act immediately.So we don't have much time and that is why we want to raise this subject at the G8meeting in Heiligendamm in Germany which begin next week, with the major eightindustrial countries the seven major industrial countries plus Russia meet. And wewould like to have an agreement on this climate goal. And we would like to have also anagreement on the question that that not only is a problem as far as green house gases isconcerned, but that we also commit ourselves to do something and then to commitourselves to the process of the United Nations. You are aware of the fact that we have abig climate conference in Bali at the end of the year. And I think we have to we have toget to a solution relatively soon because if we do not agree on a process for post 2012,that means post-Kyoto, it would be disaster. And if you would like to have a solution for2012 we have to have an agreement by 2009 because it usually takes about three years toratify these conventions. And if you if you would like to have an agreement by 2009 weneed an agreement of the major players already, I would say this year. Because we have toconvince others we have to convince the Chinese and the Indians and I think we havenot the slightest chance to convince any of these countries if Europe and United States donot agree on that.So this is a huge problem and it will be very high on the agenda of the G8 meeting whichAngela Merkel will be sharing next week. May be I will stop here and we go to questions.And may be some answers also.