tv President Biden German Chancellor Hold Joint News Conference CSPAN February 8, 2022 6:29am-7:00am EST
president biden: please, sit down. thank you. good afternoon. i'd like to start by thanking chancellor scholz for making his visit to washington. we had an opportunity to have a very productive meeting. i think our staffs wonder whether they were going to let them in at all. we spent the first half-hour or more talking together, and it's been a very, very useful meeting. one of the things that struck me was the shared values that shape how each of us approaches leadership, among them the foundational commitment to the dignity of workers and the need to treat all people with respect. so i enjoyed speaking with you, olaf. i know working together we'll continue to strengthen and deepen our alliance and the extensive partnership between germany and the united states.
of course, at the top of our agenda today was our united approach to deterring russia's threats against ukraine and the long standing principles of rural-based international order. that's what we spent most of our time talking about. germany and the united states, together with our allies and partners, are working closely together to pursue diplomatic resolutions of this situation, and diplomacy is the very best way forward for all sides. we agree. including for russia, in our view. and we have made it very clear we're ready to continue talks in good faith with russia. germany has also been a leader in pushing de-escalation of tensions and encouraging dialogue through the normandy format, but if russia makes a choice to further invade ukraine, we are jointly ready and all of nato is ready. today, the chancellor and i discussed our close cooperation
and developed a strong package of sanctions that will clearly demonstrate international resolve and have swift consequences if russia -- and i want to thank germany and all of our partners in eastern europe and the european union for their work in this united effort. we're in agreement it cannot be business as usual if russia further invades. we also discussed our shared commitment to nato's article 5 responsibilities, and reassurance of our eastern flank allies. we're united in that as well. already, the united states is sending troops to reinforce the alliance, and i want to thank the chancellor of germany for hosting additional u.s. forces and for the long standing hospitality to our women and men in uniform. we also discussed the challenge we're facing to the
international order from china, along with russia and other competitors that are pursuing more liberal futures. we agreed germany and the united states will continue to work together to ensure that the rules and principles governing emerging technologies are geared to advance freedom of opportunity, not repression or authoritarianism. we also reaffirmed our commitment to completing the work of integrating the western balkans into the european institutions and finally realize a europe that's whole, free, and at peace. with germany holding the presidency of the g-7, we also talked about how that forum can harness the world's leading democracies to advance a robust agenda of global -- on global challenges from ending the pandemic to addressing climate change. so the bottom line is this -- whether as allies in nato, partners through the european union, as leaders of the g-7 and
g-20, or through our strong bilateral orelationship -- relationship, germany and the united states are close friends and reliable partners and we can count on one another. there's no issue of global importance where germany and the united states are not working together to applying and amplifying our efforts together. so i want to thank you all for making the journey today. i look forward to being the first of many opportunities we can spend together beginning this meeting and throughout the rest of the year and the rest of your term. thank you and the floor is yours. chancellor scholz: thank you very much. good afternoon from my side as well. i'm very grateful that we had the opportunity to talk in much detail today and that i was able to make my first official visit here and we can talk about the important questions we're dealing with today. we are in a very difficult
situation, and it is a good thing that joe and i were able to discuss what we need to do in this difficult context. of course, there is a military threat in ukraine -- against ukraine. we cannot remain silent on that. we see the number of russian troops along the ukrainian border, and that is a serious threat to european security. this is why it is important we act together, that we stand together, and that we do what is necessary together. it is important that all allies, the u.s. and germany, the trans-atlantic partnership between the u.s. and europe, nato say the same thing, speak with one voice, and do things together. and we need it very clear, if there was a military aggression against ukraine, this will entail severe consequences that we agreed upon together, severe sanctions that we have worked on together. so there will be a high price
for russia. this is a very clear message. everybody has understood it. i think this message has been made clear again and again so that even russia has understood the message now. what is important is that we also intensively work on preparing possible sanctions together. we don't want to start once there is a military aggression against ukraine. we have prepared a reaction that will help us to react swiftly, if needed, and we will do that. at the same time, it is important to use all diplomatic means we have. i am very glad about your great willingness to move forward together, especially the bilateral talks between the u.s. and russia and, of course, the talks that we have agreed upon within the nato-russia format. it's important because russia needs to understand that nato stands together and nato is
prepared after so many years. there has not been new talks in this format. it is a good sign it's happening now. of course, we have controversial debates there, but it's important that we talk. and the same is true for the osce. while we need to discuss about security in europe, this is also a progress as tiresome as it may be, and we have not yet reached a conclusion yet. but it's good to see the format plays a good role. and the same thing with the normandy format. we have this format, but we have not been able to really use it in a protective way over the last few years. so now we have come back to that format. we are having tough discussions in that format. and that shows that there are ways that will lead us out of this difficult situation. and this duo track approach of clear announcements with regard to sanctions that will taken if there is a military aggression. and at the same time keeping all
dialogue formats open. i think this is the most promising strategy one can have and that is what we're doing together and we'll stand side by side on this approach. we also talked about many other topics that are important for us today, especially when it comes to the g-7 presidency of the federal republic of germany. we will work closely as strong economies, strong democracies, and we also, therefore, have a special mandate to contribute to cohesion worldwide. and part of this is that we continue to do everything we can to make sure that the citizens of the world can be vaccinated, not only in our rich countries, but also in countries where people would love to have the vaccine but don't have access yet. and these are initiatives that we have carried out together and that are of utmost importance worldwide. the same is true for fighting
manmade climate change, a big topic that keeps us all busy. even though it is obvious that only a global solution can be successful because climate is a global thing. it doesn't stop at national borders. as an industrialized nations, we have an important contribution to make. we have technological opportunities, economic opportunities, and have to use them in order to prepare a situation where we and others can enjoy prosperity without harming the climate. this is the big challenge that we see and that is of great importance to us. so this is why we want to work together on this strategy and use a climate -- of like-minded people and partners. these are some of the topics we discussed. and once again, the personal discussion we had illustrates the excellent cooperation between our countries, the strong bond we have within our
trans-atlantic partnership, and the fact that both countries can rely on each other. president biden: thank you very much. we'll take a couple questions each. reuters, andrea, you have the first question. reporter: thank you, mr. president. thank you, chancellor scholz. mr. president, i have wanted to ask you about this nord stream project you long opposed. you didn't name this by name or by chancellor scholz. did you receive assurance that germany will in fact pull the plug on this project if russia invades ukraine? and did you discuss what the definition of invasion could be? and then chancellor scholz -- if i may ask, chancellor scholz, you said there were some strategic ambiguities that was needed in terms of sanctions.
i just wanted to know whether the sanctions you are envisioning and you are working on and the u.s. as well already finished, finalized, or is there still work ongoing? you are not really saying what the details are. is that just an excuse, germany may not support the swiss measures? president biden: let me answer the first question first. if russia invades, that means tanks, troops crossing the border of ukraine again. then, there will be -- there will be no longer a nord stream 2. we will bring an end to it. reporter: how will you do that exactly since the project and control of the project is within germany's control?
president biden: we will -- i promise you we'll be able to do it. chancellor scholz: thank you very much for your question. i want to be absolutely clear -- we have intensively prepared everything to be ready with the necessary sanctions if there is a military aggression against ukraine. and this is necessary. it is necessary that we do this in advance so that russia can clearly understand that these are far-reaching, severe measures. it is part of the -- this process that we do not spell out everything in public because russia could understand that there might be even more to come. and at the same time, it is very clear we're well prepared for far-reaching measures. we will take these measures together with our allies, with our partners, with the u.s., and we will take all necessary steps. you can be sure that there won't
be any measures in which we have a differing approach. we will act together, jointly. it is a good idea to say to our american friends, we will be united. we will act together, and we will take all the necessary steps and all the necessary steps will be done by both of us together. reporter: turning the plug on nord stream 2? you haven't mentioned it. chancellor scholz: as i said, we are acting together. we are absolutely united and we will not take different steps. we will do the same steps. they will be very, very hard to russia and they should understand. president biden: you recognize someone now, chancellor. chancellor scholz: patricia.
reporter: mr. president, one question to you. the u.s., over the last few years, have exploited heavy weapons to ukraine and germany excludes that, has only delivered 5,000 helmets to ukraine. don't you think that nato should act unanimously in this respect and germany as the strongest european nato partner should also deliver heavy weapons to ukraine? and ukraine has asked germany to do so. nord stream 2, i'd also like to ask -- don't you think about the threat posed by russia, germany should already rethink its position on nord stream 2? and the third question if i may. over the last few days and weeks, there have been severe criticism from the u.s. media
and from congress, as well, vis-a-vis germany about the reliability of germany as an ally. this has been called into question. do you understand this criticism? is germany a reliable partner from your point of view? and mr. chancellor, also a question to you. nord stream 2, you said all options are on the table. you are not mentioning nord stream 2 by name. don't you think if you were to spell this out, you could win back trust as a strong ally here for the u.s.? president biden: there's no need to win back trust. he has the complete trust of the united states. germany is one of our most important allies in the world. there is no doubt about germany's partnership with the united states. none. with regard to helping ukraine, one of the largest contributors financially to ukraine has been germany. germany has been in the forefront of making sure of
providing economic assistance. you also asked the question -- you asked so many. i can't remember them all. but in terms of the u.s. media saying germany is not reliable. germany is completely reliable. completely, totally, thoroughly reliable. i have no doubt about germany at all. chancellor scholz: we are united, and the trans-atlantic partnership between germany and the u.s. is one of the permanent pillars of german policy and it will be relevant in the future as well. just as relevant. and this will be one of our top priorities, always. on behalf of nato, we are the country in continental europe that is doing -- making the largest contribution, financial means and also military power, and we are the country that
contributes a great share. we are -- it's not who pays the biggest part of the financial support to ukraine. since 2014, about $2 billion u.s. dollars, bilateral support, and an additional $3.8 billion that has made available, so substantial financial means to stabilize the ukrainians' economy, and we're willing to continue with that contribution. so this is the unbreakable friendship with our two countries. with regard to the difficult situation at the ukrainian border due to the russian troops, we have made it very clear we will unanimously act in terms of
ok? president biden: look, there is no doubt in america's mind that germany is an incredibly reliable ally and one of the leading physical powers in nato, number one. number two, the notion that nord stream 2 would go forward with an invasion by the russians is just not going to happen. now, "wall street journal", sabrina. reporter: thank you, mr. president. based on everything you know now, do you think that president putin will authorize an invasion of ukraine before the end of the winter? and what is your message to the
roughly 30,000 americans who are currently in ukraine? do you think they should leave the country? president biden: well, i've had discussions, numerous discussions with the russians, and particularly with putin. .i don't know that he knows whak he has to realize that it would be a gigantic mistake for him to move on ukraine, the impact on europe and the rest of the world would be devastating. and he would pay a heavy price. i have been very, very straightforward with president putin, both on the phone and in person. we will impose the most severe sanctions that have ever been imposed. economic sanctions. and there will be a lot to pay for that down the road. it will effect others as well. it will effect us and europeans. but it will have a profound impact on his economy. i don't know -- i know that he's
in the position now to be able to invade, almost assuming that the ground is frozen above kiev. he halls the capacity to do thao do that. what he's going to do, i don't know. and i don't think anybody knows but him. reporter: americans currently in ukraine, should they leave the country? president biden: i think it would be wise to leave the country. i'm not talking about our diplomatic corps. i'm talking about americans who are there, i hate to see them get caught in the crossfires. in fact, they did and there's no need for that and if i were they, i'd say leave. reporter: chancellor scholz, can you outline specific steps that germany is taking to reduce its energy dependence on russia and what do you say to those who suggest that german reliance on russian gas is limiting europe's options for how to respond to the crisis in ukraine?
chancellor scholz: thank you very much for raising that question because it gives me the opportunity to address some topic that's important to me. one good news maybe, strategy on fighting man-made climate change, germany has decided at very short interval periods of time to phase out the use of oil and gas by -- very soon and by 2045 germany will have a carbon-neutral economy, as one of the strongest economies of the world. with regard to these energies we often think about heating at home and driving a car, but we're talking about industrial production, producing steel, chemical substances, cement and changing these industrial processes and reorganizing such systems is what we have planned. so this year we'll continue to take far-reaching decisions that will help us to use more wind energy, offshore wind energy,
onshore wind energy and solar energy, and expand the capacities, expand the grids and have a strategy for germany. but also worldwide on the use of hydrogen, which is a central element for us to change our industrial processes that are using oil and gas right now. the industry is willing to be onboard. we're doing this together with them but it will probably be the biggest industrial modernization probably in germany in 1 -- project in germany in 100 years with new profits that will develop new technologies that other partners in the world can use as well. and this will help us fight climate change. and by the way, the energy mix today, we are talking about 1/4 of our energy that is linked to gas and only part of that gas comes from russia. a big part comes from norway or the netherlands. and of course it is very important to us that we develop an infrastructure that will give
us the opportunity to have all options available and react if needed. so you don't have to be concerned. there are some who should be concerned who see themselves maybe too much as a deliverer of such resources. because we are focusing on renewable energies. we'll go down that path and make sure that this is the profitable future. reporter: mr. president, i would like to ask you a question about l.n.g. germany and europe are much more depend on russian gas than other regions of the world and -- [indiscernible] -- from european allies to help with l.n.g.
but this resource is more expensive, it's not available in the volumes that might be needed to replace russian gas. i would like to know from you how you would help europeans in case of a conflict with russia, if it's an empty promise or what can you really do? what can you offer? and in addition, the u.s. are buying oil from russia worth billions of dollars and i would like to know whether these transfers are also part of the sanctions package against russia. and, mr. chancellor, liquefied natural gas, there was a big controversy in germany about fracking gas. how far is l.n.g. even a real replacement or is it also with a view to the climate club you intend to found, is it really an alternative to russian pipeline gas? president biden: let me respond. first of all, we are looking at opportunities to make up for
lost gas and l.n.g. from russia. we're on the way of seeing what we can do to do that. dealing with our friends around the world as well. we think we can make up a significant portion of it. that would be lost. what everybody forgets here is russia needs to be able to sell that gas and sell that oil. russia relies, a significant part of russia's budget, it's the only thing they really have to export. and if in fact it's cut off and they're going to be hurt very badly as well. and it's of consequence to them as well. this is not just a one-way street. so we are looking at what we can do to help compensate for loss of -- immediate loss of gas in europe if it occurs. and that's what we've been working on for some time now. chancellor scholz: i can confirm that we work closely with the united states of america and joe
biden and i are working closely together as well. we are prepare for all kinds of situations and that's part of what we do when we say we prepare sanctions. that means we need to be able to react at any time. and this is happening. with regard to the use of l.n.g., i can say the biggest volume of l.n.g. used across the world is gas and that is part of the debate. preventing a long-term perspective, i already outline what had this is about. we'll modernize our economy. where gas is being used, we'll switch to hydrogen. thanks process that will be -- this is a process that will happen faster than many might imagine today and that will create a bright future for all of us. president biden: thank you very much. appreciate it.