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Corker Opening Statement at Hearing on "Strains on the European Union: Implications for American Foreign Policy"

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Hearing: Strains on the European Union: Implications for American Foreign Policy

February 3, 2016

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Chairman
Opening Statement

We’ve been paying a lot of attention to what’s happening in Europe. And I was at the World Economic Forum, I guess a week and a half ago, and they’re paying a lot of attention to us. I think the presidential race here and some of the comments that have been made have caused people in Europe to certainly focus right now on ...where U.S. foreign policy is going to go.

At the same time, obviously because of the historical ties that we have – the long relationship – without a stable Europe, that certainly affects U.S. foreign policy in big ways. So, we thank you very much for being here.

There are tremendous challenges. I look at the challenges we have in our own country, which are large. Yet, I look at the European Union and the challenges that they’re facing right now, and in many ways, the problems that we have pale in comparison to the ones that they have.

The $87 billion bailout, if you will, towards Greece, and yet, them still having tremendous economic, political and fiscal issues to deal with as they move ahead. The U.K. Referendum that looks like it will be taking place. You know, Prime Minister Cameron dealing with those issues and what that may mean for Scottish independence should that occur.

The Paris attacks and just the concerns in France but also many countries there relative to terrorism and countering that.

The refugees and migrants issue that is affecting especially Germany but so many of the member countries and, you know, challenging how they uniformly deal with that.

And last, but certainly not least, is a resurgent Russia and the pressures that that is putting on Europe, certainly on the periphery and then how they all contend with that.

So – tremendous issues. We thank you for being here today - our witnesses. We appreciate the committee’s willingness to hear this.

You know, all of these things are putting tremendous pressure on the economic, monetary, as well as political unions that are taking place there. And they matter to the U.S. – they matter to us relative to our markets, relative to our manufacturers, and certainly, relative to just the allies that we depend upon mutually relative to defense, national security and those kinds of things.