Thank you, dear President, for your warm words.
The EU and US share a special bond. We are more than close allies, we are close friends.
I remember when you visited Brussels, you told us the moving story of your uncle Frank — who served at the Battle of the Bulge, in Belgium. I also have a personal story: my grandfather raised me with a strong admiration for your country, the United States. And for the sacrifices your young men and women made to liberate our part of Belgium.
Today the world faces enormous challenges. And today, more than ever, the world needs a strong EU-US alliance to tackle these challenges.
The conflict in the Middle East is a tragedy, so much suffering, so many heart-breaking images. I would like to thank you for your personal involvement, travelling to the region and working to have a positive influence. We condemn the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel. Israel has the right to defend itself and it must be done in line with international and humanitarian law.
We continue working day and night to help the most vulnerable in Palestine with their urgent needs and to foster the conditions to relaunch the Peace Process based on the two-state solution. The European Union was born as a peace project so we will continue to work tirelessly to help end the cycle of violence.
On European soil, Russia continues to rain missiles down on the people of Ukraine and we will stay focused on our strong support for the Ukrainian people. We are grateful for America’s support for Ukraine. The European Union – with our Member States — has provided over 82 billion euros of support and this strong backing will continue — for as long as it takes.
Finally, the EU and US are forging a united front to tackle all these challenges head-on. Working together, and supporting each other, is in our mutual interest and it is good for the world.
This is why we are working in the EU to try to build robust economies underpinned by robust industries that can prosper in a level playing field that we both value.
The EU and US have a powerful trade relationship and sometimes we have our differences. But that is why we are here, to cooperate and find solutions that work for businesses and workers on both sides of the Atlantic.
So we have a lot to discuss, we will do it honestly, like good friends do. Thank you.