Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, and the high-level congressional delegation led by Speaker Pelosi have concluded their participation in the 2020 Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany and their visit to the European Commission and NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Before their departure of the Munich Security Conference, the members held a press conference and Representative Lynch released the following statement:
“It is an honor for me to be here, again, with Speaker Pelosi and my colleagues,“ said Rep Lynch. “We have almost 50 Members of the House and Senate who have come to join the proceedings here at the Munich Security Conference, and I am hopeful that, in addition to honoring the memory and the legacy of Senator John McCain, our presence during this conference was a signal and a clarion call to our colleagues in democracies across Europe, to declare that democracy is under attack. We need to work harder on our alliances, to be better partners, and we need to be firm in our commitments to one another on security and on democracy. The very elections that provide the structure of our democracies at home are under assault, and the only way we will survive is if we survive together, in a collective fashion against the enemies that would like to see us diminished in our democratic rights and the rights of our citizens as well. Thank you.”
Upon arrival in Munich, the delegation received top-level briefings from U.S. military commanders and diplomats, including operational updates from NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe / U.S. European Command (EUCOM) General Tod Wolters and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General Stephen Townsend.
On Saturday, the members met with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss efforts to advance peace and stability, to fight the drug trade and to ensure that negotiations with the Taliban do not set back the progress achieved by Afghan women. The delegation spoke with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, and heard Norway’s perspective on the situation in Afghanistan and the state of peace talks with the Taliban, and also discussed security in the Arctic Circle.
The members also had a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas which focused on the vital NATO partnership with Germany, highlighting Germany’s diplomatic contributions during this critical period of peace negotiations in Afghanistan, and they reiterated grave security concerns about Germany considering adopting Huawei 5G technology.
Upon arrival in Brussels, the delegation had meetings with the leadership of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and NATO, which focused on security, the economy and shared values, under the framework of democracy versus autocracy.
The delegation met with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and was greatly encouraged by her strong commitment to making the climate crisis a top priority. Members emphasized the importance of working together toward the internationalization of standards and norms for 5G and other technologies such as AI, and also discussed transatlantic trade and market access.
The delegation then met with President of the Council of the European Union Charles Michel and spoke about the opportunities for expanded European leadership in international development and defending international norms. Members also expressed our concern with rise of anti-Semitism and the need for strong action to combat it.
At NATO Headquarters, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg provided a vital update on the status of NATO members’ engagement in Afghanistan and the status of Afghan-Taliban peace talks. The members discussed their shared alarm about the erosion of the international arms control framework, including the INF and New START treaties.
The entire congressional delegation expressed their gratitude to U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Ronald Gidwitz, and U.S. Mission to the European Union Chargé d’Affaires Mark Libby for their leadership and for making the visit a success.