Biden addresses European Parliament

Published: May 7, 2010 at 4:07 PM
Vice President and HHS Secretary Sebelius speak on health IT in Washington

BRUSSELS, May 7 (UPI) -- Members of the European Parliament said Vice President Joe Biden's speech to them shows the United States is now willing to listen to its European allies.

Biden addressed the parliament Thursday, the EUObserver reported. He was the first top U.S. official to do so in a quarter-century, since President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

"The main message was that the Obama-Biden administration is listening to allies. You can't speak about partnership if one of the sides dictates to the other," Dutch Liberal Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said.

The vice president flattered the Europeans by saying Brussels, "the home of the European Union and the headquarters of NATO," might be called "the capital of the free world" instead of Washington. He also tried to reassure them by talking of his commitment to civil liberties.

One major irritant at the moment is the proposed Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. The parliament rejected an interim agreement in February and U.S. and EU leaders are now trying to negotiate another one.

"We believe that the TFTP is essential to our security as well as yours, it has provided critical leads to counter-terrorist investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, disrupting plots and saving lives," Biden said.

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