The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe
Results Empowerment Change
25th home page
1998

Photo: MTI Fotó

A Salute to President
George Bush – A REC Founding Father

In July 1989, U.S. President George Bush proposed the establishment of the REC at the then Karl Marx University of Economics in Budapest.
Below are some brief excerpts from the former president’s 40-minute address.

Excerpts from the speech given by U.S. President George H.W. Bush at Aula Hall, Karl Marx University, Budapest, Hungary, on July 12, 1989

Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister and Mrs. Nemeth, ladies and gentlemen, Dr. and Mrs. Csaki.* It is a great pleasure for Barbara [Bush] and me to be back in Budapest, and I am very proud to be the first American president to visit Hungary. […]

Three vital spheres stand out in our partnership: economics, the environment, and democratic and cultural exchange. […]

And yet, economic progress cannot be at the expense of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Six weeks ago, in Mainz [Germany], I proposed cooperation between East and West on environmental issues. And that is why I will ask the United States Congress to appropriate five million dollars to establish an international environmental center for Central and Eastern Europe, to be based right here in Budapest, which will bring together private and government experts and organisations to address the ecological crisis.
After all, our shared heritage is the Earth. And the fate of the Earth transcends borders. It isn’t just an East-West issue. Hungary has led Eastern and Central Europe in addressing the concerns of your citizens for cleaner air and water, and now you can do even more, working with the West, to build a bridge of technical and scientific cooperation.

Along these lines, I’m also pleased to announce that the United States has proposed an agreement between our two countries to establish scientific and technical cooperation in the basic sciences, and in specific areas including the environment, medicine and nuclear safety. It is my hope that this visit will also lead to a wider exchange between East and West so our scientists, our artists and our environmentalists can learn from one another, so that our soldiers and statesmen can discuss peace, and our students — God bless ’em — can discuss the future. […]

*Bruno Straub (president of Hungary’s Presidential Council), Miklos Nemeth (Hungarian prime minister) and Csaba Csaki (rector of Karl Marx University).

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