"It is time to turn away from the disagreements of the past," she said. "It is time to open a new chapter in our relationship, and a new chapter in our alliance. America stands ready to work with Europe on our common agenda and Europe must stand ready to work with America."
She said the United States supports the growing power of the European Union.
"The United States above all welcomes the growing unity of Europe," Rice said. "America has everything to gain from having a stronger Europe as a partner in building a safer and better world. So let each of us bring to the table our ideas and our experience and our resources, and let us discuss and decide together how best to employ them for democratic change."
Rice took notice of critics' charges that the United States is seeking to impose its form of government on the world. She said that spreading freedom in the Arab world cannot be put off.
"Freedom, by its very nature, must be homegrown," Rice said. "It must be chosen. It cannot be given, and it certainly cannot be imposed. That is why, as [U.S. President George W. Bush] has said, the spread of freedom is the work of generations. But spreading freedom in the Arab and Muslim worlds is also urgent work that cannot be deferred."
Earlier, in Rome at a joint press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, Rice said that the Palestinians need international help in building their security forces.
"We talked about the need for the international community, particularly the 'quartet' [working for Mideast peace, which includes the United States/EU/UN/Russia], to be involved in doing whatever we can do to help the Palestinians reform their security forces so that they can fight terror, to build the institutions that can be the basis for a democratic state, and, of course, to have the economic reconstruction of the Palestinian territories," Rice said.
In her trademark fashion, Rice planned today's speech long before she left Washington last week. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that Rice chose Paris as the venue because it had been the center of what he called "debate and discussion" about the United States and Europe.
Rice's itinerary also was designed to prepare the way for a trip to Europe by President Bush later in February.
Her first stop, on 4 February, was London. Berlin came next, and then Warsaw. By the end of the day on 5 February, she was in Ankara and had already met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the airport and with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
She devoted 6 and 7 February to talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah with Israeli and with Palestinian officials, and announced that Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas had accepted invitations for separate meetings in the White House next spring with Bush. She met with Italian Foreign Minister Fini in Rome before heading for Paris.
After Paris, she plans to go on to Brussels and Luxembourg.