Today, U.S. Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs; David McAllister, MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs; Norbert Röttgen, MdB, Chair of the German Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Tom Tugendhat, MP, Chair of the U.K. House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs made the following statement:
“The transatlantic relationship undergirds the freedom, democracy, individual liberty, economic prosperity and collective security responsible for the most successful period of relative peace in modern history. It serves as a foundation for a rules-based world that embraces multilateral cooperation and solidarity formed after the carnage of World War II to ensure that our system and our values can withstand any challenge. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, we express our deepest sorrow at the loss of life and the human tragedy that the pandemic has wrought and extend our condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones.
“As we face this global health crisis – the likes of which has not been seen in generations and is affecting all aspects of economic and social life – foreign adversaries, extremist groups, and enemies of democracy are once again seeking to undermine the democratic system that we have fought so hard to build and maintain over 75 years. They look to sow discord in our domestic politics and shift blame for the world’s challenges away from themselves by using false narratives, spreading disinformation, and politicizing humanitarian assistance. Would be authoritarians and strongmen are using the crisis to consolidate power and crack down on the rights and freedoms of their people, political opponents, and the independent press. And proponents of closed, inward looking systems seek to blame this crisis on the openness of our democracies and the expansiveness of our global friendships. It is vitally important that we do not let them. We must resist the urge to look only inward and instead support one another through the COVID epidemic just as we have done in the past. Our choices and actions in this difficult time will affect the international environment for years to come. Therefore, we must once again show global leadership and renew confidence in multilateral cooperation and solidarity, the latter being crucial to overcoming a crisis of this scope.
“We must remember that the transatlantic relationship has been stressed before. If we commit ourselves to strengthening the bond among us and learning the right lessons to improve our model of multilateralism for the world that comes after, our democracies and our international rules-based system will endure. We cannot allow ourselves to be consumed by the crisis we face and forget the history and friendship that have helped us prosper for decades, or we open the door for our adversaries to rewrite the rules in their own authoritarian images.
“It is for this reason that we, the Chairs of the Foreign Affairs Committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Parliaments of Germany, the United Kingdom, and the European Parliament, call on our own governments and on governments around the world to think beyond the immediate challenges of the day; to band together to meet these threats head-on; to support vulnerable states where the pandemic could worsen existing conflicts and adversaries seek to expand their influence and power politics; to cooperate on improving the economic, healthcare, and scientific tools to protect our people; and to stand up for the values that bind us together.”
# # #