I am pleased to be among those who have participated in this Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial between the European Union and the United States. We have had, I believe, a productive and informative exchange which will set an ambitious agenda for our respective agencies in the months ahead.
I would like to thank Justice Minister Sturm and Interior Minister Mate for hosting this event. I would also like to thank Vice President Frattini for his participation, and take this moment, as he leaves his post with the EU, to recognize all he has done in his tenure to advance freedom, justice, and security.
This meeting has shown how much the United States and the European Union value the relationship which exists between us. The range of topics we discussed over dinner last night and at our meeting today illustrates the extent and the depth of that relationship. We have much to learn from each other, and much to gain by working together.
We have discussed issues ranging from terrorist recruitment and radicalization, to plans to share information to combat terrorists with Europol and Eurojust, to an increased focus on international organized crime. We have discussed ways to share best practices and further benefit from the work of our respective law enforcement and disaster response agencies, by, for example, exchanging information on how we might respond to potential chemical or biological attacks.
I was also pleased to be able to report that the United States Congress plans to hold hearings this May on the landmark EU/US mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties. As you know, EU countries have already made substantial progress here, by either ratifying or moving towards ratification of these agreements.
In all of these efforts, we are proud of our partnership with the European Union and its member states. We have challenged each other, as partners, to do our best—our best to cooperate with each other, our best to fight terrorism, and our best to protect the civil liberties and privacy of our respective citizens. The European Union and the United States are determined to protect our citizens within the rule of law. We are stronger in doing so together.