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Monday, 1 October, 2001, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Schroeder urges EU unity in terror fight
Gerhard Schroeder
Gerhard Schroeder called the US attacks "faceless barbarism"
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called for greater co-operation within the European Union in fighting terrorism during a speech to the Labour Party's annual conference.

The address, with Prime Minister Tony Blair watching from the platform, came on the same day as Germany said it would not rule out military support for the United States in any response to the 11 September terror attacks.

We refuse to be dragged into a 'clash of civilisations' by the terrorists

Gerhard Schroeder

Mr Schroeder told Labour delegates in Brighton that the worldwide response to the atrocities showed the value of economic and political alliances such as the EU.

But he warned that members would have to remain united "without competitive squabbling and petty jealousies".

"Europe is the most successful political project in our varied and sometimes bloody history," said Mr Schroeder.

"Europe is not only the peoples' answer to war. I am convinced that Europe will also play a vital role in the peoples' answer to terrorism."

Russia's role

Mr Schroeder suggested the European idea of co-operative security be spread to other regions, and also spoke of the importance of Russia in guaranteeing joint security in Europe.

The German chancellor said the attacks on the US - a "new dimension of faceless barbarism" - were aimed "at the entire civilised world, and equally so at Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other beliefs".

Saying they had united the world in condemnation, he declared: "We refuse to be dragged into a 'clash of civilisations' by the terrorists."

This demonstration of unity shows that Europe is more than a free trade zone

Gerhard Schroeder
"Rather, we will jointly take up the fight against terrorism, the fight for the civilisation of our one world."

Praising the "restraint and levelheadedness" of the US and European response, the German leader cautioned that the complex battle against terrorism would place "very special demands" on the law enforcement and security services of all states involved.

Mr Schroeder, who leads a centre-left coalition government, was warmly received by delegates, especially after he started with two jokes at their and his own expense.

Leaders' talks

Before moving to the more serious issues that are dominating this year's conference, he expressed solidarity with "great old Labour" and referred to Germany's 5-1 football defeat by England last month

Later Tony Blair, speaking at a joint news conference after the pair held private talks, paid tribute to Mr Schroeder's address.

It showed "the degree to which people are coming together, not just in Europe but right round the world, behind a coalition for ensuring that those who committed the terrible acts of terrorism on 11 September are brought to justice".

The two leaders' talks focused on the current "difficult situation", the necessity of focusing on humanitarian issues in any forthcoming anti-terrorist action and the importance of the Middle East peace process.

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