The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
June 26, 2004
U.S.-EU Summit: Cooperation to Combat Terrorists and Other Serious Criminals
"We have faced serious challenges together, and now we face a choice: We can go forward with confidence and resolve, or we can turn back to the dangerous illusion that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat to us."
Today, President Bush and his EU counterparts welcomed the progress on counterterrorism, including an agreement on further transatlantic cooperation. The United States and the European Union recognize the threat of terrorism to our freedom and basic liberties, and are resolved to defeat it. Victory will be secured only as long as the international community maintains vigilance and works tirelessly together to prevent terrorists from inflicting horrors like those of September 11, 2001, and March 11, 2004.
The United States and the European Union have agreed today to:
Work together to deepen the international consensus and enhance international efforts to combat terrorism through support of the United Nations, its General Assembly, and the Security Council; Share data on lost and stolen passports to prevent terrorists from traveling undetected with these documents; Work together to prevent access by terrorists to financial and other economic resources and have a regular dialogue on terrorist financing; Promote cooperation between our law enforcement agencies and institutions for the purpose of the prevention, detection, and investigation and prosecution of terrorist offenses; Identify areas for closer cooperation in dealing with the consequences of terrorist attacks; and Focus assistance programs on the enhancement of counterterrorist capacity and commitment in priority Third Countries.
These steps build on the expanding transatlantic counterterrorism cooperation. Specifically, the United States and the European Union recently have:
Reached an agreement giving U.S. border enforcement authorities access to airline passenger reservation data on transatlantic flights that will allow U.S. authorities to screen for potential terrorists in advance of boarding aircraft; Begun cooperation to secure our ports, vessels, cargo, and supply chains through programs such as the Container Security Initiative and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism to detect radioactive material; and Inaugurated a high-level dialogue to enhance mutual understanding and complementarity of U.S.-EU security policies and improve security in land, air, and maritime environments.
This extensive and growing collaboration with the EU is part of President Bush's broader counterterrorism strategy. The United States works closely with every nation committed to the fight against terrorism. Together with our international partners, we have already scored multiple victories:
Worldwide, nearly $140 million in terrorist-related accounts has been frozen. Over two-thirds of the al-Qaida leadership have been captured or killed. Operational and logistical terrorist support cells have been disrupted in Europe, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Southeast Asia. 50 million people have been liberated from two of the most brutal regimes in modern history, and al-Qaida has been denied a safehaven in Afghanistan.
President Bush has demonstrated his commitment to improving the United States' ability to detect and deter would-be terrorists by showing leadership in securing our Homeland through a series of initiatives:
The USA Patriot Act brought down the artificial wall separating law enforcement and intelligence officers, allowing them to talk to each other as they work to prevent future attacks, and provided for measured changes in the law that have enabled the Federal Government to better track terrorists, disrupt their cells, seize their assets, and share information with state and local law enforcement. The most extensive reorganization of the Federal Government in 50 years created the Department of Homeland Security last year that combined multi-agency efforts to better protect our skies, borders, ports, and critical infrastructure. The Terrorist Threat Integration Center, established in May 2003, is making strides in integrating and analyzing terrorism threat-related information collected domestically and abroad, ensuring that intelligence and law enforcement entities are working in common purpose. The Terrorist Screening Center was created to consolidate terrorist watchlists and provide 24/7 operational support for thousands of Federal screeners across the country and around the world.