Statement on the 25th Anniversary of the European Community

March 24, 1982

This year, 1982, marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome. These documents established the European Community, then the second largest trading entity in the world and an emerging influence in international relations.

In his State of the Union message in 1957, President Eisenhower welcomed the efforts of ``our European friends to develop an integrated community.'' Every administration since then has supported that goal. We believed then, and believe now, that a united Europe would achieve economic progress, would play a more effective role in world affairs, and would be better able to join the United States in preserving world peace and security. The European Community has more than redeemed our faith in its purposes. We should not underestimate the progress made in the past quarter century. From a gleam in the eyes of Jean Monnet and others, the Community has become an irreversible and dynamic reality.

Let me reaffirm clearly the support of this administration for European unity. We consider a strong and united Europe not a rival, but a partner. As we enter the second quarter century of relations between the European Community and the United States, we face economic and political challenges as difficult as those which confronted our predecessors in 1957. However, the relationship between Western Europe and the United States has changed fundamentally. In those days the United States was the dominant partner, and Europe had a more dependent role. Now the economic weight of the two sides is more evenly balanced. The gross domestic product of the European Community is comparable to that of the United States. The United States looks to Europe today for cooperation in a spirit of full partnership commensurate with its economic and political importance.

Both Europe and the United States recognize that partnership involves responsibilities. These responsibilities apply to the economic area in particular where we both have the responsibility to avoid actions which have an adverse impact on our trading partners and to preserve our free trading system. They also extend to our common security interests, where we have the responsibility to cooperate on support for like-minded countries seeking closer Western ties, and to resist the efforts of those who do not share our values to extend their power and influence. The European Community, as well as the United States, will provide responsible leadership in these areas in the years ahead.

I have every confidence that in the coming quarter century, we will build an even more productive relationship between the European Community and the United States. As we commemorate the achievements of men like Jean Monnet, we must follow his example and those of the other giants of that generation, looking ahead with vision, courage, and optimism.