Speaking to the European Parliament, Biden said "much has changed" since late US President Ronald Reagan addressed the EU assembly in 1985.
Referring to America’s help in rebuilding Europe after the Second World War, Biden said Europe continues to be the United States "most important ally" and trading partner.
"It's no accident that Europe is my first overseas destination as vice-president. We need each other more now than we ever have."
Among new challenges, Biden cited climate change, Afghanistan and the threat of Iran starting "a nuclear arms race in the Middle East" just as the US and Russia were reducing their nuclear arsenal, something he said would be "an irony".
That is why a missile defence shield is needed "to deter and defend against missile attacks on this continent," he said amid applause (EurActiv 05/02/10).
"The past 65 years have shown that when Americans and Europeans devote their energies to common purpose, there is almost nothing that we are unable to accomplish."
Call for responsibility
He also called on the European Parliament, which has won new powers since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty last year, to face up its newly-found responsibilities.
"Under the Lisbon Treaty, you’ve taken on more powers and a broader responsibility that comes with that increased influence. And we welcome that, because the United States needs strong allies and alliances to help us tackle the problems of the 21st century."
"The world has changed. It has changed utterly," Biden said, referring to the threat posed to citizens "by non-state actors and violent extremists." This "scourge", he said, could only be contained "if we make common cause".
Biden called on the Parliament to back a draft EU-US banking data exchange deal as part of anti-terrorist activities, saying "the terrorist finance tracking programme is essential to our security".
The deal was rejected by Parliament the day before amid concerns that it would violate European citizens’ right to privacy (EurActiv 05/05/10).
But Biden said the two objectives could be reconciled. "I am absolutely confident that we must and can both protect our citizens and preserve our liberties," he said.