Rhein on Energy and Climate

British prime ministers are among the few dignitaries in the world privileged to address the US Congress, when they visit Washington.

Gordon Brown did so two days ago. He delivered a vibrant plea to the US representatives and senators for more global cooperation.

National and even continental cooperation are no longer sufficient to solve our domestic problems. No country is strong enough to overcome the present recession; it needs others go along with fiscal and monetary stimuli. No country alone is able to deal with the dysfunctioning of the financial system. We need global rules and coordination of banking supervision. No country alone can contain climate change. All countries have to agree to effective climate policy measures at the Copenhagen Conference.

And we need more than declarations. Governments have to act in coordination, whether on fiscal stimuli, climate or bailing out banks.

Gordon Brown has delivered a powerful message. He has spoken more as a responsible global citizen than in his capacity as British prime minister.

He wanted to make his audience more aware of its huge responsibility for the future of the USA and the world.

Let us hope one day in the not too distant future the President of the European Council will also be able to address the US Congress with an equally strong message from the European Union. But will his address ever match that of a British prime minister in eloquence and depth of common feelings?

Brussels, 05.03.09 Eberhard Rhein

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