U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry paid tribute to the European Union on Monday as it tries to heal the wound of Britain's vote to leave, saying detractors were overlooking what it had achieved in alliance with America.[watch the full speech below]
The importance of the EU and relationship with the United States
"I ask anyone who questions the importance of the EU or its relationship with the United States, (to consider) not just the history that I articulated, but the increase of prosperity, the rise in the standard of living ... the better protection of rights for individuals in the EU, as a consequence of what we have done together," Kerry said in Brussels.
He was speaking at a joint news conference with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini after a meeting with his European counterparts including Boris Johnson, Britain's new foreign minister, who led the Leave campaign.
Donald Trump forecast trounced yet again
His comments sounded like a jab at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who last month forecast the break-up of the EU due to fears over immigration, and at Johnson, who during the campaign compared the EU's ambitions with those of Hitler and Napoleon.
Kerry, a Democrat, spoke of the close ties between the United States and European Union dating back to the U.S. role in freeing Europe from Nazism in World War Two. But he acknowledged that such memories were fading.
"There's a whole separation of time which has changed attitudes of some people," he said, adding that in the face of common threats such as Islamist militancy, the EU-U.S. partnership was "as important as it has ever been".
need for a strong and united Europe
Mogherini responded that it sometimes took a clear-sighted transatlantic view to put Europe's value into perspective.
"I would like to thank you personally, and through you the U.S. administration of President Obama for the strong message and clear message that we always hear from you on the need for a strong and united Europe," she said.
"Sometimes we need our closest friends, our best friends, to remind us of the extraordinary value of the European Union."
Turkey Coup attempt
Speaking after a meeting with the EU’s 28 foreign ministers, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Turkish government to “maintain calm and stability throughout the country,” and “to uphold the highest standards of respect for [the nation’s] democratic institutions and the rule of law.”
Kerry and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, both said they were concerned about the Turkish government’s crackdown on the alleged coup plotters — which included thousands of arrests of officials and military leaders and the possibility, raised by Erdoğan over the weekend, that the country would reinstate the death penalty.
Kerry also warned that the NATO alliance, of which Turkey is a member, “has a requirement with respect to democracy and NATO will indeed measure very carefully what is happening.”
“A lot of people have been arrested and arrested very quickly,” Kerry told reporters. “The level of vigilance and scrutiny is going to be very significant in the days ahead.”
Kerry said he had spoken several times over the weekend with Turkey’s foreign minister, and had been assured the Turkish government would “move in ways” to respect the democratic process. Asked about Erdoğan’s comments on the death penalty, Mogherini said its reinstatement would have serious consequences for Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. “No country can become an EU member state if it introduces death penalty,” she said.