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tv   Pres. Biden German Chancellor Merkel Hold News Conference  CSPAN  July 16, 2021 6:24am-7:00am EDT

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a free and fair democratic germany, so i'm very much looking forward to anything of relations we had again. i think we will be able to elaborate more on that as we go on. pres. biden: thank you. we are going to have plenty of time to answer questions.
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thank you all. please, have a seat. today, it has been my great honor, and i mean that, to welcome a dear friend back to the white house. and before i say anything else, chancellor merkel, i want to express to you and to the people of germany my sincere condolences and the condolences of the american people for the devastating loss of life and the destruction due to the flooding over the past 24 hours in germany and neighboring countries. it is a tragedy, and our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones. chancellor merkel has been here frequently over the past 16 years. matter of fact, she knows the oval office as well as i do. but all kidding aside, through
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-- through this administration, she has been there for four presidents. i want to take a moment to acknowledge the historic nature of her chancellorship. first woman chancellor in german history. the first chancellor from the former east germany. and now, the second longest-serving chancellor. here's an exemplary life of groundbreaking service to germany, and i might add, and i mean it from the bottom of my heart, to the world. on behalf of the united states, thank you, angelo, -- angela for your career of strong, principled leadership, and thank you for speaking out for what is right and for never failing to defend human dignity. i want to thank you for your continued support, for the long-standing goal of a europe whole, free, and at peace. you have been a stalwart champion of the transatlantic
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alliance. the atlantic partnership. under your chancellorship, the friendship and cooperation between germany and the united states has grown stronger and stronger. and i am looking forward to celebrating more at our dinner this evening, but today was very much a working visit. chancellor merkel and i covered a wide range of issues, where germany and the united states are working to advance a shared agenda. we discussed together at the g7, germany and the united states have responsibilities to lead with our values, as do the other members of nato. and today, i've confided that, in our new washington declaration, which we have codified, a document affirming our commitment to the democratic principles that are the heart of
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both of our nations. and how we will apply them to meet the biggest challenges of today and tomorrow. both our nations, both our nations understand the imperatives of proving that democracies can deliver the needs of our people in the second quarter of the 21st century. we will stand up for democratic principles and universal rights when we see china or any other country working to undermine free and open societies. and we are united, united in our commitment to addressing democratic backsliding, corruption, phony populism, in the european union were among candidates in the eu membership or anywhere we find it in the world. we agree on the importance of further integrating the western balkans into the european institutions.
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and in our continued support for the sovereignty and integrity of ukraine, as well as the continued importance of reforms and the support of their euro atlantic aspirations. we stand together and will continue defend our allies at our eastern flank, allies at nato, against russian aggression. while i reiterated my concerns about nord stream 2, we're united in our conviction that russia must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to coerce or threaten its neighbors. and today, we're launching a climate and energy partnership to support energy security and the development of sustainable energy, sustainable energy technologies, and emerging economies, including in central europe and ukraine. to unite our efforts to upend on
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our global climate ambitions, we have to up the ante. what happened is, we talked about when the paris accord was set, we thought we had established just how serious it was, but things have gotten much more dire since even that date. and to unite our efforts to up the ante on global climate ambitions. i also thank chancellor merkel for the dedication and the sacrifice of german troops who have served side-by-side along with u.s. forces in afghanistan for almost 20 years. and we reaffirmed our shared commitment to continuing the counterterrorist threats where we find them, including in africa. and when we think about the future, the future we want for the world, there is no issue set at all, that i believe, we find
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anything other than the certainty that a commitment between the united states and germany doesn't benefit whatever the problem and the concern is. we need to fight the covid-19 pandemic everywhere. to strengthen health and security for tomorrow. so we are ready for the next pandemic. we need to make sure the rules of the road governing the use of emerging technologies advance freedom, not authoritarianism and repression. and we need to promote sustainable economic recovery that enhances the prosperity and opportunity for all. and so much more. this isn't just the work of government, it's the work of our peoples. sharing innovation and insights, joining together to amplify our collective impact. so today, we're launchinga -- wanting a -- launching a
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futures form between our two -- futures forum between our two countries which will bring together top experts across business, academia, civil society, and more, to collaborate as we shape our shared future. madam chancellor, i know that the partnership between germany and the united states will continue to grow stronger on the foundation that you have helped to build. but on a personal note, i must tell you, i will miss seeing you at our summit. i truly will. so thank you again, angela, for making the journey, for our productive meeting today, and for your friendship. chan. merkel: [speaking german] translator: dear joe, first and i would love to ask for your understanding i need to address
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the matter with a few words. the day is already drawing to a close. a day that was characterized by fear, by despair, by suffering, and hundreds of thousands of people all of a sudden were faced with catastrophe. their houses were literally death traps. small rivers turned into flooded, devastating rivers. and i want to say my empathy and my heart goes out to all of those who, in those catastrophes, lost loved ones or who are still worrying about the fate of those still missing. and i include belgium, luxembourg, and the netherlands. who also suffered from flooding's. rescuers, first responders, are doing the utmost to help people. i am very much feeling for those
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who suffered, and i know millions of people in germany feel the same. between the presidents, and also the ministers who are responsible here, i talked to them and i would like to send a message to the people that we will not leave them alone with their suffering, and we are trying our utmost to help them. in their distress. mr. president, dear joe, thank you for the invitation, thank you for making it possible to talk to you. it is my first visit since 2019, and i am so happy about the personal exchange. we have seen again today that we're not only partners and allies, but we are very close friends. and thank you for the very friendly exchange we had this afternoon. we all share the same values, we all share the same determination to tackle the challenges of our
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times, to master them. and i am deeply convinced that simply committing to these values is sadly, not sufficient. we are living at a crucial moment in time where we are facing new challenges, and these challenges need to be translated into practical policy. so i am very grateful we had a -- this opportunity to work on these foundations, and we lay down the foundations in the washington declaration, and also how we see the road ahead and offer measures. i think that the future form will deal with those issues. societies will discuss together. what sort of solutions they think are appropriate. and i think such structures are very important. there is a very large degree of common ground that has come out of talks. we are convinced, both of us, that overcoming this pandemic is
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only possible if as many people as possible are vaccinated in our countries, and many wish to -- we wish to do that, we have to also support the rest of the world with vaccines. we work together in covax, and i am very grateful to the united states that under your leadership, dear joe, the u.s. has committed itself very clearly and unequivocally to, be it on climate, on behalf of the world health organization, and support of the wto. germany and the united states have agreed to provide vaccine doses to poorer countries. we worked within covax, as i said. we talked about the challenge of climate change. and i am very happy to have the united states are back again on the paris climate agreement. that provides us with a totally different basis in order to work among the parties, to the treaty
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in a much better and more efficient way for climate. and we see countries that are experiencing flooding, wildfires, and storms, in an increasing matter. it shows there's a dramatic increase in such unusual weather phenomena. we have to contend with this, germany and the united states, and have now formed an energy and climate partnership. i think it is a very important message we are sending here. we want to build on future oriented technologies, green hydrogen, for example, renewables, electro mobility. we are in competition with others on this planet, and we would like to be successful together, and germany is looking forward to cooperating in this respect. and i support the president in what he proposed as a global infrastructure project, which we agreed on on the g7 summit.
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next year, as you probably know, we will have the chairmanship of the presidency of the g7, and we will bring this project forward. we talked about russia and ukraine, and also about nord stream 2, coming to an -- we have come to different assessments as to what this project entails. but let me say very clearly, our idea is and remains that ukraine remains a transit country for natural gas, that ukraine, just as any other country in the world, has the right to territorial sovereignty, which is why we continue to be engaged in the process. we will be actively acting should russia not respect this right of ukraine that it has as a transit country. so nord stream 2 is an additional project, and sadly not a project to replace any sort of transit to ukraine. anything else would obviously create a lot of tension. and we're also talking about how we can actually make this very
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clear together. we also talked about other priorities in our foreign policies. for example, our relationship with china. we stand up for free, democratic societies, stand up for those rights, the rights of those who live in these societies. so wherever human rights are not guaranteed, we will make our voices heard, and make clear that we do not agree with it. we are also for territorial integrity of all countries of the world. we also talked about the many facets of corporation and of -- cooperation and of competition with china, be in the economic area, the military sector, on security. obviously there are a lot of challenges ahead. on the nuclear agreement with iran, everything should be done -- we think that everything ought to be done to bring this to a successful conclusion. i think that is something that
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the ball is also in the iranian camp. over many years we served together in afghanistan. we have been able to contain to a certain degree, terrorist dangers. but unfortunately we have not been able to build a nation as we would like it to look. and still, i would hold, it was a good partnership, has been a good partnership with the u.s. also very good contacts between our soldiers. our soldiers greatly appreciated that. we also talked about the zone where terrorism is on the rampage. for us in europe, this is a great challenge. we're very grateful to the united states for their mission in order to contain and push back against these terrorists advances. we also have drawn up -- we've also agreed on a german/american dialogue between our business communities, because we have considerable trade links and we wish to build on this.
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and obviously economies' ties are very important. it was a good exchange, we are close partners. i would like this to remain even after i've left office. and we've probably paved the way to make it possible to also create format where we can exchange, because the world will continue to be a place that is full of challenges. so thank you very much for making it possible for us to pres. biden: thank you very much. we are each going to take some questions, and i'm going to begin by my sympathies. [laughter] pres. biden: no, but thank you. reporter: we're looking forward to the day when we can have even more reporters all the way to the back of the rooms. so thank you very much. i have a couple of questions for you and also a question for the
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chancellor. mr. president, with respect to latin america and the development there in the last week plus, what are the circumstances under which you would send american troops to haiti? that is the first question. the second question is, when it comes to cuba, what is your current thinking on american sanctions towards cuba and the embargo? today, your press secretary said that communism is a failed ideology. i assume that is your view. i was wondering if you could also give us your view on socialism. and for the chancellor, the question is, madam, the president said you know the oval office as well as he does. i am wondering if you could reflect on your exchanges with american presidents over the last 16 years, and contrast the current president with his most immediate predecessor. pres. biden: in two minutes or less. obviously i know they elected you president. -- why they elected you president. well, let me start off by answering the question relative to haiti and cuba.
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communism is a failed system. a universally failed system. and i don't see socialism as a very useful substitute, but that's another story. with regard to whether the circumstances of which we would send military troops to haiti, we're only sending american marines to our embassy to make sure that they are secure and nothing is out of whack at all. the idea of sending american forces into haiti is not on the agenda at this moment. number one. number two, with regard to cuba, cuba is, unfortunately, a failed state, and repressing their citizens. there are a number of things that we would consider doing to
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help the people of cuba, but it would require a different circumstance or a guarantee that they would not be taken advantage of by the government. for example, the ability to send remittances back to cuba. i would not do that now because the fact is, it's highly likely that the regime would confiscate those remittances, or big chunks of it. with regard to, covid, excuse me, they have a covid problem in cuba. i would be prepared to give significant amounts of vaccines, if, in fact, i was assured an international organization would administer those vaccines and do it in a way that average citizens would have access to those vaccines. and one of the things that you did not ask but we're considering, is they have cut off access to the internet. we are considering whether we
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have the technological ability to reinstate that access. and i think i have answered your questions. thank you. translator: allow me to elaborate on three different points. any german chancellor has a vested interest to talk, it's very much in the vested interest of germany, to work and talk together with any american president. we have always had contact, and i think it has been very transparent, and today it was a very friendly exchange. oh, sorry, i have to call on the reporter and his german question. translator: thank you very much. allow me if i may to ask a question in regards to nord stream 2. you just said you would act actively should russia be in
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breach of its commitment to interrupt gas transit to ukraine. what do you mean in concrete terms? would germany then switch off nord stream 2 from the german side? and what legal ground would you be claiming? mr. president, you have fought so many years against nord stream 2. now there will only be a few days left until the pipeline comes into operation. will you allow it go ahead, to put it in operation, or will the people who operate the system have to contend with sanctions? translator: well, we've worked a lot, not only germany, but the whole of the european commission, for talking to russia and ukraine, and negotiating a treaty that ensures until the 2023 contract.
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and after that gas gas -- after that, gas deliveries must be possible as well. that is what i have heard, at least. let me be very careful here in my wording. then should that not go ahead, we have a number of instruments at our disposal which are not necessarily on the german side, but more on the european side. for example, sanctions with regards to crimea. and the treaty has shown we have those instruments at our disposal. we have the possibility to react. we are in contact with our european friends on this. but at this point in time, of which i hope we will never have to make those decisions, you will then see what we do. pres. biden: my view on nord stream 2 has been known for some time. good friends can disagree. but by the time i became president, it was 90% completed,
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and imposing sanctions did not seem to make any sense. it would make more sense to work with the chancellor on finding out how she would proceed based on whether or not russia tried to essentially blackmail ukraine in some way. so, the chancellor and i have asked our teams to look at practical measures we could take together, and whether or not the europe energy security, ukraine energy security, are actually strengthened, or weakened based on russian actions. so, we'll see. we'll see. ms. leonard of bloomberg. reporter: can i hold this? thank you, mr. president. i have two questions for you, and some for chancellor merkel
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as well. your administration tomorrow is issuing a business advisory for hong kong. i was wondering if you can explain why you think that is necessary. and then secondly on your bill back better -- build back better agenda, have you spoken to senators manchin and sinema about the $3 trillion framework, and are you confident they will be on board? and if you manage to lose some components, can you keep progressives on board? [speaking german] translator: i want to ask you that if you have a feeling with after the talk with president biden, does he understand your viewpoint in regards to china, or whether the situation is still tense, whether there is still decoupling.
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and secondly, whether you think the united states has contributed enough to vaccinate the rest of the world? is it appropriate that children under the age of 12 in the united states are vaccinated oil adults in other countries have no chance to get vaccinated? pres. biden: that's all? i thought i said we would take two questions. we just took two questions or more from each person we called on. let me talk about the business advisory. the situation in hong kong is deteriorating, and the chinese government is not keeping its commitment it made with hong kong. and so, it's more of an advisory as to what may happen in hong kong. it's as simple as that, and as complicated as that. with regard to if i am confident, i am supremely confident that everything is
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going to work out perfectly. look. i understand why the press and among others is skeptical that i can actually get this deal done on infrastructure, and on human infrastructure. and i've watched and listened to the press declare my initiative dead at least 10 times so far. i don't think it is dead, i think it is still alive. i still have the confidence we are going to be able to get what i have proposed and agreed to in a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure. i trust the members of the republican senators who have made the commitments relative to how we should proceed, and what would be included in the package for infrastructure. and they are men and women of honor, and i expect they would
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keep their commitment. with regard to the further issue of what is going on and what will confuse the listening audience, but reconciliation, that is the mechanism by which you have to get every single democrat to agree to proceed on matters like what i announced today. today, i don't know if you have any children, it is none of my business whether or not you do, but if you do, if you are making less than $150,000, you're going to get a significant stipend as a tax cut if you have a child under the age of seven years old. you are going to get in your bank account today, you're going to get a payment of 12 months divided -- $3700 for that child divided by 12 every month. just like your social security check. it's expected to reduce child
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poverty by over 40%. and it could be a significant, significant game changer. we have mechanisms to pay for both of these mechanisms. and there may be some last minute discussion as to who, what mechanism is used to pay for each of these items, both the infrastructure package and the human infrastructure package. but i believe we will get it done. thank you. translator: we talked about china, and there is a lot of common understanding that china , in many areas, are our competitors. that trade with china needs to rest on the assumption that we have a level playing field so that we all, well, play by the same rules. have the same standards, that, incidentally, was also the driving force between gush
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behind the -- behind the eu agreement on trade, that they abide by the core labor norms of ilo, and we're convinced of needing to be technological leaders for our two countries in many areas. obviously china is wishing to do this as well, but we will cooperate in many state of the art technologies. for example, the act the president launched is fundamental in this respect, and crucial. and we want to trade it together at the time of digitalization, where security issues when very large on our agendas. we ought to have an exchange on this, talk about this, talk about norms, standards that govern the internet, whether we
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can agree, in regards to the relationship with china, we should coordinate our efforts. we do that in the eu and we should do that with the u.s. and there are common interests. we also have areas where u.s. -- american companies compete with european companies, and we have to accept that. but basically, the rules as to how we deal with china ought to rest, and do rest on our shared values. i think on the pandemic, we are obviously of the opinion that we can only master the pandemic if each and every one is vaccinated. we are trying to boost production. we are trying to get as many people in our country vaccinated as possible, which obviously -- it is up to criticisms of those countries who have yet to have the chance, which is why we need covax, which is why we encourage our companies to increase production of vaccines. and in africa, we're trying to
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help africans so they can have their own production sites. we are going to do this. but defective, there is -- de facto, there is an imbalance, i agree. we're overcoming it. we are putting our all into that, into overcoming the imbalance. i'm sorry. i call on you. reporter: my questions are very short and one for each of you. mr. president, my first question is an issue that worries a lot of people in the u.s. and in germany. can you explain to us why there still is a travel ban for people coming from germany or other states of the european union, while people from turkey, where the number of new cases are seven times as high, can come? you have repeatedly said that you are following scientific data. what is the main argument for not lifting that travel ban for the region?
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and chancellor merkel -- [speaking german] translator: companies here, you heard their concern, headaches. some are concerned they will -- certain they are going to shift business away from the united states. what are your concerns with lifting of the travel ban and have you had success with it? pres. biden: we brought in the head of our covid team, because the chancellor brought that subject up. it is in the process of how soon we can lift the ban, it's in the process now. i will be able to answer that question in the next several days, whether that is likely to happen. i am waiting to hear from the folks in our covid team as to when that should be done. and the chancellor did raise it. translator: i did raise the issue, yes.
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and got the same answer the president gave you just now. the covid team is evaluating the matter. we have an exchange in both areas, the delta variant actually being on the increase. that is, again, a new challenge to both of us. and obviously before such a decision, one has to reflect, and it has to be a sustainable decision. it's certainly not sensible to have to take it back after only a few days. so i have every confidence in the american covid team. pres. biden: as you know from having been here many times, if we don't leave now, you and i are going to miss dinner. the chancellor and i have dinner with a number of folks shortly, so thank you for your attention and thank you for your questions. thank you. >> thank you.
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