Department of Justice Seal

Prepared Remarks of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
at Press Conference with E.U. and Russian Officials

Vienna, Austria
May 4, 2006

Good morning.

I’d like to thank the Austrian Presidency of the European Union for inviting the United States to participate in this multi-presidency meeting of the EU on Justice and Home Affairs.

The European Union, by creating a “space of freedom, security, and justice,” has not only advanced the interests of its citizens, but that of the world at large.

The United States has been privileged to work closely with the European Union on Justice and Home Affairs issues.

Today, we were able to discuss how we can continue to develop our already close working relationship on these issues of vital interest to people on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean – and indeed the entire world.

We all share the responsibility to protect our citizens from international terrorism and organized crime. We will focus on cyber crime, money laundering, border security – including document security and preserving the integrity of documents such as passports and visas – and of course we will continue to focus on drug trafficking and trafficking in persons.

I appreciate the opportunity to explore these challenges with the upcoming EU presidencies of Finland, Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia – as well as the past presidency of the United Kingdom. I am also particularly grateful for the essential support of EU vice-president Frattini and the Council Secretariat.

Finally, let me note the importance we attach to the opportunity to have met together with our colleagues from the Russian Federation.

This is the first such meeting of the EU, the Russian Federation, and the United States to discuss a range of issues of common concern in the areas of Justice and Home Affairs.

This has been a very useful meeting – one which will surely lead to an even greater strengthening of the friendship and cooperation among our nations.

Despite differences, we share a set of common goals – among them the desire to safeguard our citizens, protect justice, and advance the cause of freedom.

Renewing our commitment to these goals – as we have during this meeting – will help us accomplish them together.

Thank you.