[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book I)]
[January 11, 1994]
[Pages 32-37]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 32]]

The President's News Conference With European Union Leaders in Brussels
January 11, 1994

    President Clinton. Thank you very much. We have just had a very 
productive meeting, President Delors and Prime Minister Papandreou and 
I. As I have said many times in the last few days, I came to Brussels in 
the hope of working with the leaders of Europe to build a broader and 
more integrated Europe. At the heart of this new concept of security is 
the economic vitality of the relationship between the United States and 
the European Union. The EU remains America's most valued partner in 
trade and investment. A strong relationship between us is good for 
America. It can help to generate more jobs, more growth, more 
opportunities for workers and businesses at home as well as for those 
here in Europe.
    That is one of the reasons that our administration strongly 
supported the Maastricht Treaty. We believe a strong and more unified 
Europe makes for a more effective economic and political partner. I 
think we proved that through our combined efforts to lead the world to a 
new GATT agreement in December.
    One key to achieving that accord came last spring when President 
Delors agreed to join me in focusing on market access at last year's G-7 
summit. I'm committed to deepening our relationship with the EU through 
regular meetings at all levels to continue to address other concerns as 
we address the market access concern and as we work together to get a 
new GATT agreement.
    I have argued in my own country that to advance the global economy 
and to advance the interests of American workers as well, we must 
compete, not retreat. All advanced economies can only generate more jobs 
and higher incomes when they have more people beyond their borders to 
buy their goods and services. Therefore, we must continue our efforts to 
expand global growth and world markets. The GATT agreement will help in 
that regard. I am convinced it will create millions of jobs in the 
global economy between now and the end of the decade. But we also have 
responsibilities, the United States, the EU, and others, to continue our 
own efforts toward open trade and more global growth.
    In today's meeting, we discussed four ways in which we can build on 
the momentum generated by the GATT agreement. First, we stressed the 
need to finalize and ratify the agreement. The agreement itself was an 
impressive breakthrough, but there are several areas in which we did not 
reach full agreement. I emphasized today our strong desire to resolve 
our outstanding differences. We also agreed that further market access 
offers from Japan and from other countries are also needed to meet the 
ambitious goals on which we agreed. The U.S. and the EU cannot alone 
create the open markets the world needs. We think it is clearly time for 
the other great economic power, Japan, to join us in this effort to open 
    Second, we agreed on the importance of putting jobs at the center of 
our trade and economic agenda. Today, the nations of the European Union 
are facing high and persistent rates of unemployment and sluggish 
growth. In the United States, we have begun to generate more jobs, but 
our Nation still has a long way to go before our unemployment is at an 
acceptable level and before our workers begin to generate more income 
when they work harder. The renewal of each of our economies will benefit 
all of them. We discussed some of the innovative ideas contained in the 
Delors white paper. President Delors and Prime Minister Papandreou both 
make very thoughtful comments about the kinds of things we could do to 
generate more job growth both in Europe and the United States. And we 
look forward to pursuing those ideas at the jobs conference in 
Washington this spring and again at the G-7 summit this July.
    Third, we agreed to explore the next generation of trade issues. I 
suggested that the successor agenda to the Uruguay round should include 
issues such as the impact of environmental policies on trade, antitrust 
and other competition policies, and labor standards, something that I 
think we must, frankly, address. While we continue to tear down 
anticompetitive practices and other barriers to trade, we simply have to 
assure that our economic policies also protect the environment and the 
well-being of workers. And as we bring others into the orbit of global 

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people who can benefit from the investment and trading opportunities we 
offer, we must ensure that their policies benefit the interest of their 
workers and our common interest in enhancing environmental protection 
throughout the globe. That is exactly what we tried to do with the North 
American Free Trade Agreement. And in the coming months I look forward 
to continuing discussions on these issues with our EU partners.
    Finally, we discussed the imperative of helping to integrate the new 
market democracies of Europe's eastern half into the transatlantic 
community. Yesterday, NATO took an historic step in this direction with 
the Partnership For Peace. We must match that effort by helping to 
ensure that our markets are open to the products of Eastern Europe. 
Ultimately, the further integration of Europe can be a future source of 
jobs and prosperity for both the United States and Western Europe as 
these nations become increasingly productive and, therefore, 
increasingly able to serve as consumers in the global economy.
    We have already begun to open our markets to these new democracies. 
And I have urged that both the United States and the EU explore 
additional ways in which we can further open our markets to the nations 
to our east. Our trade relations are a source of strength, a source of 
jobs, a source of prosperity.
    I look forward to continuing these discussions in the future. We had 
a lot of very good specific discussions this morning on the jobs issue 
in particular. And we intend to continue to work together and to make 
progress together.
    Thank you very much.
    President Andreas Papandreou. President Clinton, in this very brief 
presentation, has covered the issues that we discussed today. He has 
done so in a very complete way, so I will make two or three comments and 
not more.
    To begin with, we have the revitalization of transatlantic 
relations, relations between Europe, the European Union, and the United 
States of America. It is very important for President Clinton that 
European integration, the great objective of a united Europe, is very 
    Now, the other important issue is an opening towards Eastern Europe. 
The walls separating the East from the West have been dismantled. We do 
not want any further divisions in Europe. But we should not ignore the 
dangers that may confront us on this road. Russia is involved in a very 
difficult economic, political, and social reform. And we would like to 
contribute in any way we can so that this road will lead to a modern 
economy, to a peaceful policy, and to a just society. We hope that that 
will be the final outcome of this process.
    Now, the third point which is directly linked to what we have 
mentioned so far is a Partnership For Peace. We have to work together 
for peace. This is a great concept. We should consider ways of working 
together in the area of defense in connection with problems arising due 
to crises, due to nationalist fanaticism, due to conflicts in Europe or 
at the periphery. Crisis management is a very important objective. 
Military cooperation without Eastern European countries being members of 
NATO but cooperation between them and NATO is not a threat for Russia 
but rather an invitation to Russia to contribute constructively.
    I will not embark on the problem of the European economy. Mr. Delors 
will speak about this problem. But the truth is that there are three 
regions in which we have both unemployment and recession: Europe, Japan, 
and the United States. Now, the United States have started an upswing.
    We are faced with a very serious problem in connection with 
employment, and we will have to live with this problem for many years 
unless we manage to find a radical solution. It is not the right time to 
go into the details of these solutions. Now, this is what I wanted to 
say at the present juncture.
    So, President Delors.
    President Jacques Delors. Questions immediately, because this is 
more interesting than what I could add. President Papandreou has spoken 
on behalf of the Community.


    Q. Helen Thomas, UPI, United Press International. Back to NATO, Mr. 
President. What makes you think that the Serbs will take the threat 
seriously now since NATO has been the boy crying wolf in the past? And 
what really has stiffened everybody's spine now after 2 years of 
shelling, bombing, slaughter?
    President Clinton. Well, keep in mind now, the resolution was 
directed toward a specific set of circumstances. NATO reaffirmed the 
August position that if Sarajevo was subject to strangulation, defined 
as large-scale shelling, that air power from NATO could be used as a re-

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sponse to that. And then today, there were added two conditions that we 
asked our military leadership to come up with, plans to ensure that the 
troop replacement in Srebrenica could proceed and to see whether the 
airstrip at Tuzla could be opened.
    I can only tell you what happened in the meetings. The Secretary 
General of NATO and I both said that these steps should not be called 
for unless everyone voting in the affirmative was prepared to see them 
through. And there was an explicit discussion of that. So I think that 
the continued deterioration of conditions, the frustration of all of us 
that no peace agreement has been made, and that explicit debate should 
give this vote the credibility that I believe it deserves.

The Global Economy

    Q. Listening to what you said about growth and jobs and also defense 
of the environment and social rights, I'm very struck by how similar 
your language is to the proposals which President Delors recently put to 
the European heads of government. Would you acknowledge that your 
thinking on these issues is very largely convergent? And what would you 
say to some people who responded in this Union by saying now is no time 
to be unduly concerned about workers' rights or the environment, that 
this can be no priority when we are tackling mass unemployment? It's a 
debate we've had here in the Union. I wonder how you would advise people 
in that respect here.
    President Clinton. First of all, I think it is fair to say that 
President Delors and I share a lot of common ideas. Prime Minister 
Papandreou and I have shared some ideas. I've read some of his thoughts 
and interviews. I think any person who seriously studies this issue, who 
studies income trends in the United States, who studies job trends in 
Europe, who studies now what is happening in Japan, will reach the 
conclusion that every wealthy country in the world is having great 
difficulty creating jobs and raising incomes and that there are some 
common elements to this malady which have to be addressed.
    Now, let me say in response to the two issues you've raised, first 
of all, with regard to the environment, I believe that dealing with the 
environment creates jobs, doesn't cost jobs if you do it in the right 
way. And I think we now have about 20 years of evidence that supports 
that, that if you have the right sort of sensible environmental policy 
and if you finance it in the right way, you will create jobs, not cost 
jobs. Much of the environmental cleanup that is sensible requires the 
development of technologies and the generation of high-wage jobs which 
will be virtually exclusively the province of the same countries that 
are having trouble creating jobs.
    With regard to workers' rights, I would respond in two ways. First 
of all, if in order to create jobs we have to give up all the supports 
that we have worked hard for over decades for working families, then we 
may wind up paying the same political price and social price. That is, 
we do not want to see the collapse of the middle class in Europe or in 
the United States. What we want to do is to rebuild and strengthen the 
middle class.
    If you look at the vote in Russia, if you look at the recent vote in 
Poland, you see what happens in democracies when middle class people 
feel that the future will be worse than the present. So if you're going 
to ask for changes in the system of support, those changes have to be 
done in a way that increase the sense of security that middle class, 
working class families have in all these countries.
    Secondly, the issue of worker rights and the issue of the 
environment should be seen from our prospective as a global one. That 
is, if you look at what Ambassador Kantor negotiated with Mexico in the 
NAFTA treaty, the first trade agreement ever to explicitly deal with 
environmental and labor issues, we did it because we said, okay, if 
we're going to open our borders and trade more and invest more with 
developing nations, we want to know that their working people will 
receive some of the benefits and a fair share of the benefits of this 
trade and investment. Otherwise, they won't have increasing incomes, and 
they won't be able to buy our products and services.
    So I see this whole worker rights issue as more a function of the 
global economy and one that will help us to build up ordinary citizens 
everywhere, which I think should be our ultimate objective.


    Q. Terry Hunt, from Associated Press. Mr. President, back on Bosnia, 
you mentioned that this threat of military action is not a new threat. 
How long can NATO keep on making these

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threats without carrying them out, without delivering? At what point 
does it become, as you warned about yesterday, an empty threat?
    President Clinton. Well, first of all, we have two different issues 
here. The French and the British proposed the motion to ask our military 
planners to come up with a strategy to ensure the rotation of troops in 
Srebrenica and to see whether with the use of air power or some other 
device we might secure the opening of the airstrip at Tuzla to continue 
the U.N. mission, the humanitarian mission. So we'll await the plan and 
see what happens.
    On the question of the use of air strikes in retaliation for the 
strangulation of Sarajevo, that is largely going to be a function of the 
behavior of the people who have been shelling Sarajevo, the Bosnian 
Serbs. When you say how long, it depends on what is their behavior. Is 
the shelling going to abate now, as it did after August when we adopted 
the resolution? And then it basically escalated dramatically only 
relatively recently. Or will they continue to do it? And then we'll see 
if our resolve is there. My resolve is there; that's all I can tell you. 
And I believe the people in that room knew what they were doing when 
they voted for this resolution. When you say how long, it depends in 
part on what will be the conduct from this day forward of those who have 
been responsible for shelling Sarajevo.

Integration of East and West

    Q. I had a question on Partnership For Peace. And I'd be grateful 
if, Mr. President, you could answer and then perhaps President Delors, 
too. With hindsight, I wonder whether you don't think you missed a trick 
by making entry into NATO for the former Communist countries of Central 
and Eastern Europe work on the same track as entry into the European 
Union. Would this not have been a more credible approach for Partnership 
For Peace?
    President Clinton. I'll be glad to answer that question, but I think 
perhaps I should defer to President Delors since he has a much better 
sense of how the membership track for the European Union works and let 
him answer the question that you specifically posed, and then I'll also 
respond. And perhaps Prime Minister Papandreou will respond.
    President Delors. Back in 1989, already with the events that took 
place then, the summit of industrialized nations dealt at length with 
this question: How, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse 
of communism, could we make it possible for the countries in question to 
get back onto the track of pluralist democracy and open economy? And 
then it seemed to us that immediate entry by the countries in question 
into the European Union would be more damaging for them than would be a 
period of preparation and adaptation. We were afraid then that there 
would be a clash between the strong and the weak, however much aid we 
could give them. So a period of transition was necessary. It was in the 
context of the mission that was entrusted to the European Community and 
to the Commission that we endeavored to help them in order to make it 
possible for them to progress in parallel along the two tracks that I 
have indicated today. After 4 years of experience and speaking in my 
personal name, I am ready to take stock of this aid to which the 
Community has contributed a lot.
    May I recall that in 1989, the European Union only represented 25 
percent of the external trade of the countries of Eastern Europe. Now we 
represent 60 percent. And so we have replaced COMECON, and that was 
absolutely necessary. We have doubled our imports over 3 years from 
these countries. We represent 60 percent of total aid, including the aid 
from the international financial organizations. But we cannot replace 
them. These countries are responsible countries. They have to learn the 
workings of an open economy and democracy. Of course, there are claims; 
in our countries there are also people that are recommending other 
solutions. But I still think that immediate entry to the European Union 
would have been very damaging to them, irrespective of what our leaders 
would have had to explain to our citizens who are taxpayers.
    For today, we have to take stock of what's happened, but not do this 
having in mind the idea that we could substitute for them. They are 
responsible for the fates. Some of them have chosen the ``big bang'' 
approach in order to reform their economies. I deplore this, and I feel 
that this was one of the reasons for the return of the former Communists 
and others. Others have taken a more gradualist approach. But each 
country was different. Czechoslovakia was traditionally an industrial 
country. Hungary, even out of communism, had begun experiments in 
decentralization way back in 1970. So we cannot act in their stead. 
Today, they have to face a

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growing problem of security. The Partnership For Peace is there to deal 
with this, but there is also a need for economic security.
    But I'm a pragmatist. I'm open to any solution. But when I hear some 
leaders within Europe saying that we should have acted otherwise, I 
remain convinced that we did opt for the right solution. Now, have we 
always supplied it with the desirable efficacy? That's another question. 
It remains open. But again, with the commissioners responsible, we shall 
take stock of all of this.
    But we have to be careful. All of the miracle solutions that have 
been proposed would not have resolved the problems, and anyway, we can 
see this with German unification. It is not this that in any way has 
diminished the frustration of the populations concerned or filled the 
psychological gap or even made it possible to get onto the ideal road 
towards modernization. There are all sorts of problems. Besides, I'm 
very respectful of what is happening in Germany. But it is an experience 
contrary to the other one. You can see what problems remain to be 
    President Papandreou. Just a few words, because I think President 
Delors has stated very clearly our stand. There is a very delicate 
relationship between deepening of the European Union and enlargement of 
the Union. They must go together in a careful relationship. Otherwise, 
the Union itself may not be able to achieve its fundamental goals. So 
some delays are necessary, both from the point of view of the countries 
petitioning the entry and also from the Union itself. But I think I've 
said enough, in view of what President Delors has already said in such 
    President Clinton. I'd like to go back to your original question. 
What you asked, I think, was, since there is sort of a phased-in 
possibility for additional membership in the European Union and a 
phased-in possibility for membership in NATO, should the criteria and 
timetables have been reconciled? I think that's the question you're 
    I can't give you a yes or no, except to say that I think it would 
have been difficult to do that for a couple of reasons. First of all, 
NATO and the European Union are fundamentally different organizations. 
Membership in NATO means that each member has a solemn obligation to 
defend the security of each other--any other member from attack. And 
membership in NATO includes a guarantee, therefore, coming from the 
United States and from Canada, something that is not the same with the 
European Union.
    On the other hand, membership in the European Union now involves a 
commitment to a level of economic and political integration that some 
who may want to be a part of NATO may or may not want to commit to. So I 
think, as a practical matter, it would have been very difficult to 
reconcile these two timetables since the organizations are different. 
Some may be more interested in being in the European Union. I can 
conceive of some countries who want to be in the Union who may not want 
to be in NATO. Some may wish to be in NATO before they're able to meet 
the responsibilities of the European Union.
    President Delors. I would just like to add one sentence. In my 
humble opinion, the generation that I belong to and which holds 
responsibility at present has two obligations, and to reconcile these is 
not easy. On the one hand, we want to create a political union with the 
European countries that desire this, because we think that none of our 
countries is capable of coping with these problems and with world 
responsibilities. And secondly, given the events that have occurred in 
the East, we have another obligation which is equally important; that 
is, to extend our values of peace, cooperation, and mutual understanding 
to the wider Europe.
    Believe me, to combine the two is no easy task. And again, I 
criticize those who put forth simplistic solutions in this area. Life is 
difficult. No one can prevent such events being conflictual. A little 
modesty on the part of those proposing miracle solutions will be 


    Q. Mr. President, Germany recently requested that the famous Article 
5 of the NATO Pact should apply for the security for the Czech Republic, 
not a NATO member, in order to face a threat not been defined yet. Since 
Greece, a NATO member, according to reports, many of them, is facing a 
real threat in her northern border from an expected movement of Albanian 
refugees from Kosovo via Skopje--[inaudible]--if the same article could 
apply on that case, keeping also into account that European Union and 
Western European Union are not guaranteeing the Greek borders. And I'm 
taking this opportunity, Mr. President, to ask

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you directly if America will be in the position to guarantee the 
security of Greece from such a threat on a bilateral basis?
    President Clinton. Frankly, that's a conversation I think I ought to 
have with Prime Minister Papandreou before I have it in public, in some 
ways. But let me respond in two ways. First of all, the United States 
has taken two strong steps to try to make sure that the dire situation 
you described does not occur. We have sent 300 troops to be located in 
Macedonia, or Skopje as the Prime Minister describes it, as a part of a 
NATO effort or a U.N. effort to contain the conflict in Bosnia.
    In addition to that, shortly before I became President but after I 
was elected President, the previous administration with my strong 
support sent a very strong and firm warning about involving Kosovo in 
the conflagration in Bosnia. And we made it very clear that we would 
have very strong views about that and a strong reaction to it.
    So I think the real issue is, are we trying to protect the interests 
of Greece and other nations from being embroiled in the conflict now in 
the Balkans? And the answer is yes, and I think we've taken two strong 
steps to do that. I believe we will be successful in doing that.

Note: The President's 41st news conference began at 12:49 p.m. in the 
News Conference Theatre at the headquarters of the Commission of the 
European Union, where he met with Greek Prime Minister Andreas 
Papandreou in his capacity as President, European Council, and Jacques 
Delors, President, European Commission. The European Presidents' remarks 
were translated by interpreters.