SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, first of all, thank you.  It’s so good to see you, as always.  And very simply, for the United States, the European Union is the partner of first resort, not last resort, as we are working together around the world on some of the most acute challenges – whether it’s the conflict between Israel and Hamas; whether it’s the Russian aggression against Ukraine; whether it’s the challenging situation in Haiti – many economic opportunities and issues as well.  One of the things that we’re most grateful for is this incredibly close collaboration between the United States and the European Union.  So I’m very pleased for the opportunity, as always, to focus in on some of the challenges that are on our plates today.  And great to see you.

PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN:  Thank you very much for meeting again.  It is wonderful to know that our friends see us on a regular basis.  I believe you have mentioned all the different conflicts, how we stand together and work on them.  But it’s also very good to see that – in past years as well – positive development that we (inaudible).  So in this sense, many thanks. 

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future