Sarah speaks to the European Parliament about the transatlantic relationship
Mr President the transatlantic relationship is Europe's most important. Not only do we still account for half of the global economy but our democracies are the key drivers of the maintenance of human rights and the rule of law. However we sometimes seem to either take each other for granted or let our family squabbles obscure our overriding common interests.
That is why our joint resolution insists on the importance of a strategic partnership one which stresses coordination and cooperation in meeting global challenges and regional issues and in which legislators are full and serious players. That strategic partnership must be rooted in economic and political freedom.
I am pleased that MEPs are reiterating our insistence on the aim of a free transatlantic market by 2015. That means gearing up our ambitions for the removal of trade and regulatory barriers. A very large - and growing - part of the transatlantic relationship is about issues of justice law enforcement and human rights. It used to be ad hoc now it is really one of the core elements. The more we anchor our partnership in shared respect for our common values the more strongly we can act to resonate those values in the wider world.
In that context the renewed justification by former President George Bush of water boarding - which is unequivocally torture - sums up everything that went wrong in the disastrous eight years of his presidency and that made the West both less free and less secure. The emerging widespread evidence of apparent mistreatment of Iraqi detainees by UK and US troops demands examination at the highest level including at the forthcoming summit and in independent inquiries.
I was very pleased to hear Vice-President Reding on the data protection agreement. It really is vital to have this 'umbrella agreement' as she called it because at the moment we are fire-fighting on each individual data-sharing agreement. If we could just have a settlement a framework in which individual data-sharing requests can be examined that would be extremely valuable because so much of our attention and squabbles have focused on that subject. It is a great prize worth a lot of effort.