Independence Day Celebration

Photo Credit: Sander de Wilde Photography

Independence Day Celebration Remarks
Chargé d’Affaires Adam Shub

Brussels, Belgium
June 21, 2017

Good evening to everybody. We’re delighted you’re all here. I know English isn’t the only language in the European Union so I’ll say Bon soir, Guten Abend, Buenas noches, Bona sera, Добрый вечер. I’d like to welcome you to our celebration. A warm welcome to the United States Mission to the European Union celebration of U.S. Independence Day.

Now I specify that because this is of course the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium of which there is none, there is a Chargé d’Affaires, but we’re very grateful to our brothers in arms and sisters in arms here across Rue Zinner for lending us this beautiful space which goes back I think two centuries, almost as old as the United States. So we’re very grateful for that. Then I wanted to cite a very fine example of U.S.-EU defense cooperation and that is the USARERUR Jazz Combo. They’ve come all the way from Visbaden so I just wanted to give them a hand. Thank you. Most importantly, this event couldn’t have happened without the generosity of so many of the sponsors. American, European companies – you’ll be tasting their goods, some of them; some of them their logos are on the screens – who’ve helped us, who’ve partnered with us on various subjects across the year. So I’m delighted that they’ve managed to be our partners for this.

I’ve been the Deputy Chief of Mission now for about two years. Or a year and a half. And the Chargé d’Affaires for the last five and a half months since the new administration. It’s been busy. I can say that much. And I’ve gotten to know many of you a little bit more, a little bit more intensely perhaps but I think that’s a good thing. These five months have given me tremendous appreciation for all the friendships that exist on this side of the Atlantic and you’re all here tonight. And I think they’ve taught me the value of listening, of patience, and of taking the long view.

Because it is 241 years. So we celebrate that birthday today. It is June 21st okay, the longest day of the year.

So, 250 years even longer. This has been our most important relationship across the Atlantic. I think There’s no doubt about it. These have been three centuries of history, opportunity that have all built the values that we share very simply. Democracy, freedom, and prosperity. You all know this.

Our economic ties are second to none. Our investment relationship in both directions spans 3 centuries. Who built the railroads? European capital. And prosperity has been brought to both sides of the Atlantic. It’s a 4 trillion dollar flow. Annually. That’s kind of amazing. And our trade accounts for an amazing 1/3 of global output. These are mind-boggling numbers and I always have to consult the AmCham’s publication. Susan, where are you? To make sure that this is really true. But it is. And it’s very, very big.

Over the three centuries, these values that we’ve defended together we’ve managed to forge a vital and enduring relationship. And it’s been through wars. And It’s been through revolutions. And it’s been through recessions. But it’s also been through new friendships, new elections, and economic transformations. So today I think we’re living in one of these. It’s a time of profound changes that raise many questions about our common purpose.

To quote a much watched TV series and no it’s not House of Cards or Game of Thrones. I’m sure some of you are thinking perhaps. But maybe Downton Abbey. “The world our parents left us is different from the world we are leaving our children.” Truly. As the father of two teenagers, I know this all too well. But that’s all the more reason why we need our partnership to continue and to succeed.

If there’s one important message that I have tonight it’s that this partnership is more important than it’s ever been. We need to continue, we need it to succeed. We need to face our challenges together rather than alone. We will absolutely, absolutely need the strongest of alliances with Europe and with the EU if we’re to defeat terrorism.

And yesterday is a reminder. And a heartfelt thank you to our Belgian friends for their impeccable response last night. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

We’ll need economically thriving partners if we’re to level the playing field of global trade, protecting all our industries against unfair competition.

We’ll need to continue to harness together our scientists, researchers, and academics if we’re to continue to be leaders in innovation and technology.

And we’ll need to work together to foster democracy, freedom, and prosperity in the Balkans, in Ukraine, in Africa and Asia and other regions in the world. That’s why I believe our partnership now is more important than ever.

55 years ago, on July 4th actually, he celebrated on the right day, President John F. Kennedy spoke in Philadelphia about the hope and importance of the European Economic Community. Remember that? And in those remarks he said, “Building the Atlantic partnership now will not be easily or cheaply finished.” Was he right? He was right. This is not a relationship that comes without effort. But the importance of the relationship deserves that effort and it deserves more.

So our guests this evening, all of you here, you all are our colleagues and partners in those efforts. Every one of you. Our team, your team, many other countries that are here. Together we do important work, we do hard work. Day in and day out. Weekends. To cultivate this enduring and beneficial bond between us.

So it’s my honor and pleasure tonight to host you tonight. But please join me and my team in raising a glass – if you have a glass, I hope you have glasses – in raising a toast to the United States on its birthday and to our indispensable partnership with Europe and the European Union. Hear, hear. Thank you very much.