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Craig Stapleton

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Bilan des relations transatlantiques


12 avril 2006

Craig Stapleton, Ambassadeur des Etats-Unis en France, était l’invité des Rencontres du Cercle des Européens-L’Express, le 12 avril 2006. Il a dressé un bilan des relations transatlantiques concernant l’OTAN, les questions liées à la politique de défense et de sécurité européenne ainsi que sur la coopération financière entre les Etats-Unis et l’UE.


Craig Stapleton est Ambassadeur des Etats-Unis en France.

Noëlle Lenoir et Craig Stapleton © Cercle des Européens
Noëlle Lenoir et Craig Stapleton © Cercle des Européens

Extraits de son intervention

"Ladies and Gentlemen : It is very much a pleasure to be here to exchange some thoughts on the progress we’ve made in the transatlantic relationship.

I would first like to express my appreciation to Mme Lenoir for her kind invitation and for the warm welcome you have all extended. Opportunities for dialogue, such as this one, are invaluable in promoting the transatlantic relationship and U.S.-French relations in particular. For proof of the importance of the bilateral relationship, we need look no further than the March 30 visit of Secretary of State Rice to President Chirac – consultation is important. Relations between our two countries are back on a very positive and cooperative track. I would observe that our friendship and alliance are rooted in the very basic essential values we share – our commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, market economies, and tolerance. As a result, our relationship has always continued to function well even when we quarrel. It is my intention to make sure that we never lose sight of these principles, which have formed the basis of the Franco-American relationship for over two centuries, as we address today’s issues. "

European Union and NATO

"On America’s views towards the European Union, Europeans should recall that the United States has been a strong and consistent supporter of Europe for many years, including a strengthened EU. This support ranges from the implementation of the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe to our commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — NATO. NATO continues to serve as the institutional means for the U.S. and the Europeans together to assure their common security. Its existence remains of paramount importance to both Europe and the United States. As the vital transatlantic linkage of our security interests, means and responses, its value is both real and symbolic. This remains as true now, especially after September 11, 2001, as it did previously, notwithstanding the end of the Cold War. Today, we are threatened by terrorism, proliferation, non-state actors, ethnically and politically based extremism, failed and failing states, and even cross-border environmental and health-related concerns. Even more challenging, the worst threats emanate from outside Europe. I would argue that NATO has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to these new circumstances. I would point to three NATO operations – in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, and in Darfur – as indicative of the kind of security role NATO can play in the future, and the range of options it offers, given its means, its political weight and its experience. In the Balkans, provides the indispensable security component in the continuing effort to integrate a peaceful Balkan region into the European mainstream. In Afghanistan, while Afghans, Americans, French and others pursue counter-terrorism operations, NATO has been ensuring the security of the Afghan people through its leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). If NATO is to continue to succeed, it will require the political will of all its members, and their willingness to use NATO and to use it effectively."

European Security and Defence policy

"The United States supports the European Union’s efforts to develop its military capability, through the European Security and Defense Policy. We appreciate and encourage increased military capability by our European allies, which is as necessary for a stronger EU as it is for a stronger NATO. However, it is also important that the EU military capability be transparent and coordinated with NATO, so that the two organizations remain in harmony on military issues and avoid working at cross-purposes or duplicating each other’s efforts."

US-EU financial cooperation

"Let me turn now to US-EU financial cooperation and our respective approaches to financial regulation. I understand that several of you in the audience from the business sector follow this issue closely. I want to emphasize that the United States is working with the EU on financial cooperation across a number of fronts. The dialogue works informally, quietly and professionally. The stakes are too large to operate any other way. We live in a world of global capital markets, and global companies. The days when national legislation affected only one’s own nation are over. Increasingly, national legislation has global implications. This makes US-EU financial cooperation essential to the effective functioning of our financial markets. But when global institutions — financial and commercial — face different regulatory and supervisory regimes in every country they operate, it is burdensome, costly, and simply an inefficient use of resources. Financial regulation must also continuously be attuned to market developments. Markets are dynamic, innovative, and creative human endeavors that produce new ways to deal with risk. They are to be encouraged. In our view, regulators can use markets – and market discipline – to help produce desired results. Markets are themselves self-policing mechanisms."

Cultural and educational relationship

"On a final note, we should remember that the bilateral relationship has been strengthened by our various cultural and educational contacts over the years. You will be happy to know that the U.S. International Visitors Leadership Program, which exposes young French professionals to the U.S., is going strong. Last year, 24 French nationals participated in the program. In 2006, 9 participants have already visited the United States, with 19 more to participate in programs later this year. Past participants in this program include President Giscard d’Estaing, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Lionel Jospin, to name just a few. I would hope that the understanding of the United States that they gained during this program contributed in some small way to their eventual political successes."

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