"The basis for our mutual security must move beyond Cold War doctrines," Bush said this afternoon. "Today we face growing threats from weapons of mass destruction and missiles in the hands of states for whom terror and blackmail are a way of life."
Senior administration officials who sat in on Bush's closed-door meeting with fellow NATO leaders in Brussels this week said a number of European allies expressed support for the controversial concept.
Differences Over Environmental, Defense Policy Remain
Seeking to reassure European leaders that sharp differences over environmental and defense policy would not hamper the future of U.S.-European leaders, Bush again stressed areas of agreement today as he has throughout the course of his five-nation trip.
"Today a new generation makes a new commitment: A Europe and an America bound in a great alliance of liberty — history's greatest force for peace and progress and human dignity," the president said. "Our progress is great, our goals are large and our differences, in comparison, are small."
But those differences have often taken center stage during the president's first visit to Europe since taking office.
After trying to persuade skeptical NATO leaders to back his missile-defense plans, the president was forced to confront differences over a major global warming treaty as he met Thursday with EU leaders in Gothenburg.
Although none of the EU nations have yet ratified the 1997 Kyoto Accord, Bush's rejection of the climate change agreement has been a source of tension. The president has argued the limits on greenhouse gas emissions called for in the protocol are unrealistic and unfair because they do not apply to developing countries.
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said following the session that the EU and the United States had simply "agreed to disagree" on the matter.
"We share more than an alliance. We share a civilization," Bush said today. "These trans-Atlantic ties could not be severed by U-boats. They could not be cut by checkpoints and barbed wire … And they certainly will not be broken by commercial quarrels and political debates."