[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[May 13, 1998]
[Pages 750-753]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks to the People of Germany in Berlin
May 13, 1998

    Thank you very much, Mr. President, 
Chancellor Kohl, to the leaders and members of 
the Bundestag and Bundesrat, members of the Cabinet, members of the 
diplomatic corps, Professor Schneider, and 
all the people who have made us feel so welcome here at the beautiful 
Schauspielhaus. Let me begin by thanking the German Symphony Orchestra 
for playing one of my favorite pieces, the ``Eroica.'' You were 
wonderful. Thank you very much.
    Mr. Mayor, thank you for your remarks. 
And Chancellor, thank you for all that you said.
    I am delighted to join all of you in the historic heart of free and 
unified Berlin. Fifty years ago the United States and its allies made a 
commitment to the people of Berlin. It began with the heroic airlift of 
1948, continued through the showdown with Soviet tanks at Checkpoint 
Charlie in 1961, and includes nearly 100,000 American soldiers who 
defended this city over the course of 40 years and grew to love its 
    It lasted until East Germans bravely reached out across the wall and 
tore it down, thus freeing all of us to make real a Europe we had only 
dreamed of, an undivided continent of thriving democracies where states 
deal with each other not through domination but dialog; where societies 
are governed not by repression but by the rule of law; where the only 
barriers people face are the limits of their own dreams. Today, Berlin 
is a symbol of what all Europe is striving to become.
    Former Chancellor Willy Brandt, who was mayor of West Berlin on the 
day the wall went up, declared on that magical November night as the 
wall was coming down, ``Es wachst zusammen was zusammen gehort''--``what 
belongs together is growing together.'' You have shown, citizens of 
Berlin, that he was correct. From the construction on the Spree turning 
Berlin into Germany's capital for the future to the renewal of 
Potsdammer Platz as a dynamic center of business, Berlin's rebirth 
embodies all our hopes for the future. And from Munich to Potsdam, from 
Hamburg to Dresden, people throughout Germany's old and new states have 
struggled and sacrificed to make the larger dream of German unity come 
true. Now, barely 600 days before the beginning of a new century and a 
new millennium, we must make unity our mission for the Continent as a 
whole and for a new transatlantic community.
    For more than 1,000 years, from the time of Charlemagne to the 
founding of the European Community, a unified Europe has captured this 
continent's imagination. Now, for the first time, the dream is within 
reach, and not through conquest but through the decision of free people.
    In 1994 I came to Europe to support your unity and to set forth a 
vision of partnership between America and a new Europe, rooted in 
security cooperation, free markets, and vibrant democracies. I asked all 
our countries to adapt our institutions for the new time, to help the 
new market economies of Europe's eastern half to thrive, to support the 
growth of freedom and the spread of peace, to bring the peoples of the 
Euro-Atlantic community more closely together.
    On all fronts, we have made remarkable progress. NATO is taking on 
new missions and new members, building practical ties with Russia and 
Ukraine, deepening cooperation among the

[[Page 751]]

44 nations of the Partnership Council. The European Union is growing, 
and America and the EU are working together to tear down more trade 
barriers and strengthen new democracies. The OSCE, Europe's standard 
bearer for human rights and freedoms, is now helping to make those 
standards real, from supervising elections in Albania to monitoring arms 
reduction in Bosnia.
    With support from America and the European Union and especially with 
Chancellor Kohl and Germany's farsighted 
leadership, new market economies are taking root all across this 
continent. Russia has privatized more property than any nation in this 
century. Poland and Estonia are among Europe's fastest growing 
economies. Since 1991, U.S. and EU investment in Central and Eastern 
Europe has quadrupled and trade has doubled.
    We've encouraged Europe's newly freed nations from helping citizens 
groups in the New Independent States to monitor their elections to 
strengthening the independence of their judicial systems. In Russia 
alone, thousands of civic groups are beginning to take a role in shaping 
the destiny of this century. President Yeltsin 
has a new government of young reformers, fully capable of leading Russia 
decisively into the future.
    We have helped to make the peace take hold from Bosnia to Northern 
Ireland. Every day our ordinary citizens work to link our nations 
together, from sister cities such as Leipzig and Houston, to American 
students flocking to all European countries, to young Romanians and 
Bulgarians now enrolled in our military academies.
    With all of this progress, as the Chancellor noted, many challenges 
still remain to our common vision: the ongoing struggles of newly free 
nations to consolidate their reforms; the unfinished work of bringing 
Europe's eastern half fully into our transatlantic community; the fear 
of those who lack the skills to succeed in the fast-changing global 
economy; the voices of hatred, intolerance, and division on both sides 
of the Atlantic, whether masked in patriotism, cloaked in religious 
fervor, or posing as ethnic pride; Bosnia's fragile peace; Kosovo's 
volatility; Cyprus' stalemate; the dangers that all our nations face and 
cannot defeat alone--the spread of weapons of mass destruction, 
organized crime, environmental degradation.
    And so my friends, 1998, no less than 1989, demands our boldness, 
our will, and our unity. Today I call on our nations to summon the 
energy and the will to finish the work we have started, to keep at it 
until every nation on the Continent enjoys the security and democracy we 
do and all men and women, from Seattle to Paris to Istanbul to St. 
Petersburg, are able to pursue their dreams in peace and build an even 
better life for their children.
    This is the opportunity of generations. Together, we must seize it. 
We must build a Europe like Germany itself, whole and free, prosperous 
and peaceful, increasingly integrated, and always globally engaged.
    If you will forgive me a personal observation based on my service in 
the last 5\1/2\ years, I must note that this magic moment in history did 
not simply arrive. It was made, and made largely by the vision and 
determined leadership of Germany and its Chancellor for 9 years.
    Consider the historic changes you have wrought. You committed 
Germany again to lead in a united Europe--this time through cooperation, 
not conquest. You took the risk of pushing for the European Monetary 
Union, knowing there would be bumps along the way, especially with the 
strength of the deutsche mark and the power of your own economy. You 
shouldered the enormous cost of your own reunification to make sure the 
East is not left behind and to ease as much as possible the unavoidable 
dislocation and pain that goes along with this process.
    And you have done this while also taking on the challenge that West 
Germany must face in making a difficult transition to a global economy, 
in which preserving opportunity for all and preserving the social 
contract is a challenge even for the wealthiest nations, as we see in 
America every day. All this you have attempted to do, and largely 
achieved, in 9 short years.
    Though many German citizens may be uncertain of the outcome and may 
not yet feel the benefits of your farsighted, courageous course, you are 
clearly on the right side of history. America honors your vision and 
your achievements, and we are proud to march with you, shoulder-to-
shoulder, into the new millennium. We thank you.
    We begin our common journey with one basic premise: America stands 
with Europe. Today, no less than 50 years ago, our destinies are joined. 
If Europe is at peace, America is more

[[Page 752]]

secure. If Europe prospers, America does as well. We share a common 
destiny because we move to a logic of mutually beneficial 
interdependence, where each nation can grow stronger and more prosperous 
because of the success of its neighbors and friends. Therefore, we 
welcome Europe's march toward greater unity. We seek a transatlantic 
partnership that is broad and open in scope, where the benefits and 
burdens are shared, where we seek a stable and peaceful future not only 
for ourselves but for all the world. We begin with our common security 
of which NATO is the bedrock.
    Next year the leaders of countries across Europe will gather in 
Washington to celebrate NATO's 50 years of success, to welcome the first 
new democracies from Eastern Europe as members, to keep NATO's door open 
to others as they are ready to assume the responsibilities of 
membership, to chart a course for the century ahead with threats more 
diffuse but no less dangerous than those our founders faced.
    Yesterday's NATO guarded our borders against direct military 
invasion. Tomorrow's alliance must continue to defend enlarged borders 
and defend against threats to our security from beyond them: the spread 
of weapons of mass destruction, ethnic violence, regional conflict. NATO 
must have the means to perform these tasks. And we must maintain and 
strengthen our partnership with Russia, with Ukraine, with other nations 
across the Continent who share our interests, our values, and our 
    Advancing security also requires us to work for peace, whether in 
Northern Ireland, Nagorno-Karabakh, Kosovo, Bosnia, or Cyprus, to stand 
against intolerance and injustice as much as military aggression. For 
racism and inequality have no place in the future we are building 
together. We must fight them at home and abroad.
    Second, we must do more to promote prosperity throughout our 
community. Transatlantic commerce, as the Chancellor said, is already 
the largest economic relationship in the world, encompassing more than 
half a trillion U.S. dollars each year, supporting millions of jobs in 
both America and Europe.
    Consider this: America's investment in Europe roughly equals that in 
all the rest of the world put together. And Europe's investment in 
America has now created so many jobs that one of 12 U.S. factory workers 
is employed by a European-owned firm.
    Still, we must face the stark fact that prosperity is not yet 
everyone's partner. Europe's new democracies confront the daunting 
challenge of transition to market economies in an age of globalization, 
which, as I have already said, makes it more difficult to preserve 
equality of opportunity, a strong social safety net, and a general sense 
of fairness. We must continue to help these struggling countries, even 
as those of us in wealthier nations confront our own challenges on these 
    America will continue to support Europe's march toward integration. 
We admire the determination that has made your economic and monetary 
union possible, and we will work with you to make it a success. We will 
continue to encourage your steps to enlarge the EU as well, eventually 
to embrace all central Europe and Turkey.
    Our third task is to strengthen the hand and extend the reach of 
democracy. One important tool is the OSCE. Its broad membership projects 
a unity and moral authority unparalleled on the Continent. Today, the 
OSCE is taking action on the ground from advancing human rights in the 
Balkans to supporting democratic institutions in Belarus.
    At next year's OSCE summit, we should encourage even greater 
engagement in the areas where democracy's roots are still fragile, in 
the Balkans and central Asia and the Caucasus, and we must develop 
practical new tools for the OSCE, such as training police to support 
peacekeeping missions and dispatching democracy teams to build more open 
societies. Only in this way can we deter and defuse crises that threaten 
our values and our securities before they get out of hand.
    Now, the secure, the free, the prosperous Atlantic community we 
envision must include a successful, democratic Russia. For most of this 
century fear, tyranny, and isolation kept Russia from the European 
mainstream. But look at the future Russians are now building, and we 
have an enormous stake in their success. Russia is literally recreating 
itself, using the tools of openness and reform to strengthen new freedom 
and restrain those who abuse them, to ensure more competition, to 
collect taxes, fight crime, restructure the military, prevent the spread 
of sensitive technologies. We must support this Russian revolution.
    We will redouble our efforts with Russia to reduce our nuclear 
arsenals, to lower the limits

[[Page 753]]

on conventional forces in Europe, to fight the spread of materials and 
technology for weapons of mass destruction, to build a partnership with 
NATO in practical ways that benefit all of us, to develop the ties 
between our people that are the best antidote to mistrust. And we must 
not forget Ukraine, for it, too, has the opportunity to reach both east 
and west and be a great force for Europe's peace, prosperity, and 
stability. We should encourage reform and support it. The moment in 
Ukraine is historic, and it is not a moment to lose.
    Our fourth and final task is strengthening our global cooperation. 
Let us make common cause of our common concerns, standing together 
against threats to our security from states that flout international 
norms to the conflict brewing in Kosovo, from deterring terrorists and 
organized criminals to helping Asia restore financial stability, from 
helping Africa to join the global economy to combating global warming. 
In a world grown smaller, what happens beyond our borders touches our 
daily lives at home. America and Europe must work together to shape this 
    Now, as we pursue this agenda, there will be times when we disagree. 
But occasional lack of consensus must never result in lasting cracks in 
our cohesion. Nor should the quest for consensus lure us into the 
easiest, lowest common denominator solution to difficult, high-urgency 
problems. When the world needs principled, effective, strong leadership, 
we must rise to the responsibility.
    These are our challenges. They are ambitious, but attainable. They 
demand of nations constant unity of purpose and commitment, and they 
require the support and the courage of our citizens. For without the 
courage of ordinary people, the wall would not have come down, and the 
new Europe would not be unfolding. Now it falls to each of us to write 
the next chapter of this story, to build up from what has been taken 
down, to cement together what is no longer walled apart, to repair the 
breaches that still exist among our peoples, to build a Europe that 
belongs together and grows together in freedom.
    Our success in this endeavor will make the new century the greatest 
that Germany, America, Europe, and the world have ever known. This is an 
effort worthy of the rich legacy of Berlin, the visionary leadership of 
modern Germany, and the enormous obligation we share for our children's 
future. Let us embrace it with gratitude, joy, and determination.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:30 p.m. in the Schauspielhaus. In his 
remarks, he referred to President Roman Herzog of Germany; Professor 
Frank Schneider, director, Berlin Schauspielhaus; and Mayor Eberhard 
Diepgen of Berlin.