tv President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel Joint News Conference CSPAN April 24, 2016 9:37pm-10:26pm EDT
passed last fall in the senate after years of wrangling that now has private industry willing to pass on information to the government. but only after they have sanitized it. watch the communicators monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span two. president obama is currently overseas for a multi-day trip that has included stops in saudi arabia and the united kingdom. on sunday he was in germany where he met with chancellor angela merkel. they spoke about u.s. german relations and answered questions. this is 50 minutes. chancellor merkel: ladies and
gentlemen, i would like to bid a welcome to the president of the united states of america, barack obama. here to germany on this fifth visit to hanover. and let me tell you that i am delighted to have an opportunity not only to continue our talks, but today is going to be a very remarkable day because we're going to open the hanover estate today. these are turbulent times, i think we would both agree. we have an opportunity to talk about the whole spectrum of international issues. we don't need to spend too much time on this. but let me tell you, barack, that i very much value our candid open talks that are always based
on mutual trust. we talk about a whole range of issues and we do so today as we have done many times previously and i sure hope that we should continue to do so. we used all of these opportunities -- we use this opportunity here to talk about numerous international issues such as combating terrorism and also asked questions related to migration in general. the european union is a destination for many refugees to those who don't enjoy peace at home. we support the geneva talks.
and i am greatly concerned that the cease-fire did not hold. there were outbreaks of fights and other places. i was able to see yesterday what this means by means of suffering distress of one's people when there is fighting in their home area, so we want to do everything in order to bring the geneva talks. we also talked about libya, because syria is going to be very important to support of the unity government. this is an entanglement on the one hand of stability and the progress that we have with this new unity government to stabilize the situation, but also when we look at syria for example, there are enormous migratory flows across the aegean sea that are triggered by
a hundred developments there. i am very grateful that the united states of america are supporting the nato mission. this in many ways is also a joint european-american effort, a transatlantic mission. we can say that all of our security issues on the doorstep of europe can only be tackled by joint transatlantic efforts. only in this way can our common security be insured. this also means that a european agreement as necessary, a german agreement is necessary in many of these issues, and i think germany has demonstrated that we are willing to make this effort to go the extra mile. be it in iraq fighting example,, be it, for
in the way that we have become engaged in mali. we talked about afghanistan and afghanistan, too, needs to be kept on a track which is promising for the afghani people. we are ready and willing to be voluntarily engaged and continue to be militarily engaged. we are grateful for the united states of america for the responsibility you continue to show. i think the message that the taliban needs to be the international community will not leave afghanistan and this current predicament. we also talk about an issue that we are also interested in is the crisis in ukraine. we have the greatest importance to this agreement being implemented as soon as possible. we will put a lot of effort into
making this possible in our talks with ukraine, but also in our talks with russia. unfortunately we still do not have a stable cease-fire. we need to bring the political process forward. tonight, economic issues will loom large on the agenda. from a european perspective, let me say this clearly, it is very helpful in order to allow our economy to grow. it is important for the german economy, it is important for the whole of the european economy. if i look at the progress that we had made with the tpp, i think we all have an interest in continuing to support these negotiations.
we should do our bit to make this a success. thank you very much. again, for this visit. i'm very much looking forward to the other things that are lining up for today and tomorrow. i would like to welcome you on behalf of the german citizens. and on behalf of the citizens of hanover. president obama: let me see thank you for chancellor merkel for your welcome. it is wonderful to be back in germany. i believe i'm the first u.s. president to visit in some time here in hanover. it is always a great pleasure to be back with my friend and partner angela. i have value chancellor merkel's thinking and perspective on a whole range of global issues throughout our presidency. you have been a trusted partner, throughout my entire presidency. longer than any world leader, and i value your judgment, i thank you for your commitment to our
alliance, and the values to which we stand. and i am grateful for our personal friendship. i am here for the trade show. angela and i will join the opening ceremonies this evening and visit some exhibitions tomorrow. it is a reminder that the united states and germany are among each other's largest trading partners. it is a relationship we have to keep building and nurturing. so that we are crating more jobs and more prosperity for our people and keeping our country's competitive in the global economy. in that regard, angela and i agree that the united states and the european union need to continue to move forward with the transatlantic partnership. in our bilateral meeting, we discussed the importance of boosting economic growth in the euro zone, which is critical for the global economy, including the u.s. economy.
strong growth in europe is given larly important the array of pressing challenges weatherby security, defense, migration, or refugees. i should add, by the way, that given the urgency of climate change, and the economic opportunities of clean energy, both of our nations have signed an agreement and we believe it needs to be implemented quickly. of course most of our discussion as chancellor merkel indicated focused on security challenges. germany is a vital member of the coalition to destroy isil. german aircraft support in the campaign and german assistance is helping iraq stabilize areas it liberates from isil.
the coalition continues to make progress. germany is obviously a strong partner in international efforts to provide humanitarian relief to the people of syria and iraq. we remain deeply concerned about the upsurge in fighting in syria over the last several days and we continue to believe that the only real durable solution is a political solution that moves syria towards an inclusive government that represents all syrians. given the horrific attacks that we have seen around the world, including paris, brussels, istanbul, san bernardino, and on a much more frequent basis, attacks and horrific violence that is taking place in the middle east. we discussed the importance of maintaining our strong security cooperation. in afghanistan, we will continue
to help strengthen afghan forces as they push back against al qaeda, the taliban, and isil. we will continue to support the libyan people and the new libyan government. the united states and germany are going to remain counterterrorism partners and we are going to continue to use all the tools at our disposal to prevent terrorists from traveling and plotting attacks. that includes improved information sharing between our countries and within europe. and as always, we will do so while upholding our values and civil liberties including the privacy of citizens here and in the united states. i want to once again commend angela for her leadership as germany response to migrants who are desperately fleeing conflicts in the region. perhaps because she once lived behind a wall herself, she understands the aspirations of those who have been denied their
freedom and who seek a better life. i know the politics around this issue can be difficult in all of our countries. we did discuss the eu's recent agreement with turkey, and angela and i agree that we can respond to the situation in a way that is both humane and ensures our security. we discussed the importance of keeping the alliance strong for our collective defense. we continue to augment on a rotational basis nato forces in eastern europe including the baltic states. as i have said from the very beginning of my presidency, we have a treaty obligation to defend every nato ally and we will. beyond the alliance, we welcome the formation of a new government in ukraine, which we encourage to take its political, economic, and energy reforms that could deliver progress to the ukrainian people. chancellor merkel and the ukrainian president have been
tireless in seeking a solution in ukraine. all sides need to uphold the commitments they have made, and that sanctions in russia can and should only be lifted should russia comply. tomorrow, chancellor merkel will host their meetings with prime minister cameron as we discussed the full range of challenges we faced together. chancellor merkel. >> the first question will come from roberto renton with "reuters." >> thank you.
president obama, you have made the case many times that tpp with hr modern trade agreements that deal with problems that arose with earlier deals, but that message does not seem to have resonated. the deals are very unpopular at home and there are huge protest here yesterday. it is a huge presidential election issue. what is your plan to realistically advance the deals? is it realistic to say you want to get t-tip done by the end of the year? and at this point will tpp have to wait for congressional approval? until the lame duck session at the earliest. and chancellor merkel, you said yesterday in turkey that you favor the creation of a type of safe zone in syria.
president obama had said in the past that he opposes these types of zones because while they are well-intentioned they would require military force to protect the safety of the people. i'm wondering whether you are going to try to convince president obama to rethink his position on these types of safe zones and how you would see them working in terms of enforcing safety on the ground? thank you. president obama: with respect to trade, i think what you are seeing around the world is people are unsettled by globalization. and although trade has brought enormous benefits to many of our countries that have been engaged in trade, although typically jobs that are produced from exports have higher wages and better benefits than those that are not involved with the export market,
people visibly see a plan moving and jobs lost and the narrative develops that this is weakening rather than strengthening the position of ordinary people and ordinary workers. and it is forcing them to compete with low-wage labor. and that, i think, is what drives a lot of suspicion, understandably of these trade deals. the benefits often times are diffuse, whereas a particular plant or business feels they have been hurt by outside competition. they feel it very acutely. but if you look at the benefits to the united states or to germany of free-trade around the world, it is indisputable that it has made our economy stronger. it has made sure that our businesses are the most competitive in the world. and as you see other markets like china beginning to develop,
and asia beginning to develop, and africa growing fast, we have to make sure that our businesses can compete there. because at least in the united states, 95% of the world's markets are outside of our borders. and if we are not there, present, we are going to have problems. now the relationship between europe and the united states is already one of the most robust trading relationships in the world, but what we've discovered is that while strengthening labor provisions and strengthening environmental provisions and standards, we can also eliminate a lot of regulatory and bureaucratic irritants and blockages to trade that would allow us to engage in even more trade.
so more goods, create more jobs, and create more prosperity. now with respect to the politics of it, recent surveys in the united states for example, showed that the majority of people still favor trade. they still recognizable on balance that it is a good idea. during presidential elections, it is always tough. when we are in the heat of campaigns, people naturally are going to worry more about what is lost than what is gained with respect to trade agreements. but i am confident that we are going to be able to get this done. keep in mind people didn't think with the transpacific partnership that we would be able to get the authority to move it forward. and we got it done. people didn't think we would be able to negotiate with 11 countries in the asia pacific and have a deal that in fact the strengthen labor, and the strengthen environment of provisions, and yet we got it done. i think the same is going to be true here. i don't anticipate that we will
be able to have completed ratification of a deal by the end of the year, but i do anticipate that we can have completed the agreement. and then it will be presented to our various legislatures, our various parliaments, but at that point we will have the negotiations completed and people will be able to see exactly what this would be good for our two countries. and with respect to congress, and transpacific partnership, i think after the primary season is over, the politics settle down a little bit and congress and will be in a position to start moving forward. because i know that we have had a majority of members in the past who were in favor of this deal. otherwise you would not have gotten the authority for me to go ahead and fast-track this agreement. but i think we all know that elections can sometimes make
things a little more challenging. and people take positions in part to protect themselves from attacks during the course of election season. one thing i do want to say with respect to syria, we all care deeply about the tragic humanitarian crisis inside of syria. i live with this every day, i read about this every day, we talk to people who are experiencing suffering or are witnessing the suffering going on there. we are in constant communications with turkey, our nato ally, in finding ways which we can resolve the situation. as you know, i spoke to president putin early last week to try to make sure that we
could reinstate our facilities and make sure that the political process does not unwind. having said all that, the issues of having a safezone is not a matter of an ideological objection on my part, it is not a matter of me not wishing i could help and protect a whole bunch of people. it is a very practical issue about how do you do it, and who is going to put a bunch of ground troops inside of syria, and how do you let people in, and who do you let in and who do let out. and how is it monitored? the truth of the matter is, that when i go through with my defense department, and we have done it multiple times, how a proposal like that might work as a practical matter, sadly, it is very difficult to see how it would operate short of us
essentially being willing to militarily take over a big chunk of that country. and that requires a big military commitment, and i think that one of the biggest challenges that angela and i both face is that we often see great wrongs going on around the world and we do everything we can to try to right them, but one of the things i have learned as president is that we have to make sure that whatever it is that we say we are going to do, we can deliver. and creating a situation in which we could actually protect all of the people inside of syria, the best bet for doing that is to get this political process on track, a transition on track, so that all the parties can safely lay down their arms. increase the kind of inclusive
government that seriously desperately needs. >> i think if you actually followed my remarks closely yesterday in turkey you will be able to understand that this is something that i think needs to come out of this geneva process. it's not something that can be called a safe zone in a traditional way but when we talk about a cease-fire, is it actually possible to yoif -- identify certain areas where people can feel particular hi safe? this is not about influencing the matter from the outside. it is something that needs to come out of property stes it self because we have tens of thousands of refugees along the turkish 46 syrian border. before he -- we have to send a message to him. other regions as well -- the
cease-fire needs to be put in place but these are areas where there say punishment obligation incumbent on all the different parties, for example, wlfer humanitarian access is guaranteed, where people don't have to feel they have to flee this area again, but it needs to be part and parcel of the general eveoo negotiating process and not something that comes out of 9 blue. -- the blue. >> mad ame chancellor, this is presumably your last joint sorted of visit or appearance rather here in germany during your term. what were your best experiences and your worst between medal be freedom and n.s.a. affair if i may call it that and madame chancellor, the united states actually wants germany to do more as regards its military presence within nato. are you ready to increase, for example, soldiers and the
contingent in order to achieve a deterrence by russia in the east by locating ground troops? and should the united states not help more by absorbing for example, more than 10,000 refugees from syria this year? and will you see to it that g-8 g-7 in japan a g hp -- process will revolve over sometime? >> i have the impression that we're actually quite busy with the conflicts in the world we need to solve today and we have new challenges on the agenda so i am not in a position to draw stock now. what you see is a testimony to aur close partnership and cooperation and friendship based on mutual trust and i am very grateful for this. in many instances the united states has become a more active partner one can safely say
because we are also very flanded -- threatened, our very security is threanted and we have to do this in alliance. in certain areas we have a long-time mission that we're going to continue, southern afghanistan, for example. in a way we've had a change of paradigm in that we see this challenge of i.s. as something that is virginia cute so we sent weapons into the conflict area, gave them to the pesh managera, a completely new step compared to past steps. looking at the threats against france, for example, we shouldered the responsibility for the mission in northern africa. leaving the congo placingside where we spent some time. but? we eet -- meet in warsaw, shall have other opportunities to pleet, the president and i and we shall address all these issues. so let me say for me, the
future with the president is much more important than the ast right now. we know we also have to make additional efforts to defend ourselves, we know the target that nato has submitted to us. we think that the whole positioning of our federal armed forces reflects fully the , our sense that we need to show a sense of international responsibility. also cyber is something that was neglected over the past years and i think it helps us to track the challenges and master them and the cooperate ation with the united states is indispensable. looking at the larger neighborhood of europe, trans atlantic cooperatition with nato and also other forums is suleiman essential for maintaining our own security
and safety. the prime minister:: very briefly i wanted to go back to roberto's point. as chancellor merkel mentioned, part of the notion of the cescation of hostilities is that the parties to the conflict would carve out areas in which because the opposition to that tory cessation, the rhyme degrees not to attack those areas and she's exactly right and here there's no space between us that if we can get the political transition to separate out areas where a moderate opposition at the table controls it, that should be a safe area. if it's i.s.i.l. or nsra, , at's not a safe area and the
that's the consent we've been trying to boulevard. it's been fraying in part because the syrian regime has been cheating. in part because there are areas where nsre -- nesra and moderate opposition forces both reside and it's been difficult to separate them geographically but that concept of ultimately bringing some safety and security within the country is entirely consistent with what we're trying do in our negotiations. now, with respect to the u.s., general relationship and my relationship with chancellor merkel, i've said this before and i will repeat. this is as important a relationship as i've had during the course of my presidency. chancellor merkel has been consistent. she has been steady. she is trustworthy. she has a really good sense of
humor that she doesn't show all the time at press conferences. she's much more serious in front of all of you. and -- which probably serves her well. that's why she's been such a long-lasting leader because she watches what she says. but if you think about the first time i came here, we were in the midst of a potential collapse of the global economy. and i believe that it was in large parted because of our joint leadership, because of europe and the united states and other partners round the world coming together and having a clear vision that we were able to stabilize the global financial system and our two countries now have been able to grow steadily and reduce unemployment and recovered much better than a number of other countries around the world.
when you think about the paris accord, that doesn't happen unless there is strong u.s.-german cooperatition -- cooperation and arresting the pace of climate clay is as important as any issue we're going to face in the decades to come. making sure that we're able to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon without resort to war, that occurred because of the partnership of the p 5 plus one and the leadership that angela and others have shown. in afghanistan, german troops have been vital in us assists afghans to defend their own country. in ukraine, the normandy process i think it's fair to say works in part because the united states stands shoulder the oulder with angela and
president to draw a very firm line about the basic principles of sovereignty and territory. so there are very few issues where we have worked together where i have not been hugely appreciative of angela's steady leadership and trustworthiness and as she noted although it's be saying will goodbye from this current position in around nine months, a lot laps in nine months. everybody kept on saying to me originally that somehow things would slow down in the second half of my last term. tp hasn't happened yet. i seem to be pretty busy and i look forward in addressing many of the challenges that we face, including those that we'll
discuss at nato, those that we'll discuss at the g-7 and the g-20 to know that i have a strong narn angela merkel. the last point i would make with respect to european defense spending is absolutely true, that under angela's leadership jermaine has been more forward-leaning on a whole variety of areas. i do continue to maintain and i will say this leading up to the nato conference and beyond, that given the pressures both from the south and the aggressive posture and enormous spending we're seeing out of russia, it is important for all of our nato members to try to hit the target that we set in wales of 2% of defense spending so that everyone is able to maintain the kind of defense capacity in part to prevent
wars. not necessary throy initiate them but to in a position where we can send a strong signal that we can meet our alliance obligations and deal with these new and rapidly emerging challenges that confront europe as well as the world. >> the second u.s. journalist is from "the wall street journal". reporter: thank you, mr. president. north korea launched a bafltic missile from a submarine on saturday. do you view it as a serious overshnewer and at is point how do you ases north korea's nuclear capabilities? and chancellor merkel, you both have spoken about the strong
working relationship you have. as you look ahead, how do you view the possibility of a -- working with a new u.s. president who has called your refugee policy insane and has raised the specter of dissolving nato? the prime minister:: with respect to north korea, we're stale sesing and analyzing with precision the activities that north korea engaged in over the last several days. so i'll let the pentagon and our intelligence community debrief everyone once we have precise information. what is clear is that north korea continues to engage in continue wisconsin provocative behavior, that they -- within db continuous provocative
behavior, that they have been actively pursuing a nuclear program, an ability to launch nuclear weapons and although more often than not they fail in many of these tests, they gain knowledge each time they engage in these tests and we take it very seriously and so do our allies and so does the entire world. and it's for this reason why we have continually mobilized the international community to isolate north korea, to crank a he sanctions that impose cost on kim jong unand pyongyang. d why we have cultivated cooperation with the chinese to put more pressure on north korea. and although it is not where we would completely thrike to be,
i will say that we've seen the chinese be more alarmed and take more seriously what north korea is doing and they have been willing to be more forward-leaning in exact willing a price on north korea's destructive behavior. in terms of overtures, we don't take seriously a promise to simply halt until the next time they decide to do a test these kinds of activities. what we've said consistently dating back to the six-party talks is that if north korea shows seriousness in denuclearizing the korean peninsula, then we will be prepared to enter into serious conversations with them about educing tensions and our approach to protecting our allies in the region.
but that's not something that happens based on a press releasing in the wake of a series of provocative behaviors. they're going to have to do better than that and until they do, we're going to continue to emphasize our work with the republic of korea and japan and our missile defense mechanisms to make sure we're keeping the american people safe and our allies safe. reporter: after your question, -- >> after your question, let me make two remarks. first, i concentrate on the task ahead for 2016. i'm quite busy with with that, thank you very much and i'm looking with great interest at the american election campaign. >> the one last question is coming from you.
reporter: madame president, the president a few days ago said it was a grave mistake not to have had a plan after the intervention in libya ready. do you think, feel confirmed by the -- confirmed by the fact that you on stained -- abstained from that and do you feel supporty sup -- sufficiently supported after this position was taken? and mr. president, in germany there is very great resistance against particularly those private dispute settlement schemes. are you going to accommodate the germans and are you actually envious of the chancellor that her term of office is actually unlimited according to the constitution comparde to yours? actually i was interested, -- that's so interesting to me because i always have this 6:00 at the back of my mind.
what was your gesh >> he ok, yes, on libya. do you feel confirmed by the decision. well, if you take a decision that is different from the decision one of your friends taking, it was an abstention at the time, it's never easy but you still remain friends and it remains your joint goal you are pursuing the what is on the agenda now is something that is affecting us, affect is the united states of america and affecting everyone. we need to build up a functioning state in libya, which is anything but easy. that's why we're working so closely and with such commitment to strengthen the unity government and why we are cooperating internationally to bring about this goal and not have different goals. so basically let's look ahead. let's look at what we want to achieve. thts -- let's try and stabilize this country. it's not easy, not at all as you -- because they have a
tribal structure in libra -- libya. they have a history, well, very much their own. they have a situation there on the ground that is such that stheff never had a national army, never had a functioning state as we know it. so that's, everything, all of these things come into the equation. we have to think of that when we fry to stabilize -- try to stabilize the country and strengthen the population and we do this together with the united states the the prime minister:: first, with respect to libya, i want to be very clear. i continue to believe that it was the right thing to do for us to interester vein as part of a u.n.-mandated international coalition to revent some of the potentially murderous behavior that gaddafi was talking about. i do believe that it was important for us to properly plan, prepare and resource what
came next and i think it was possible for us to do that effectively. i think that we didn't do it as effectively as we should have. that does not negate, though, as angela said, the importance of us all now investing in making sure that there is a functioning libyan government and the fact that we now have a accord, t national fragile as it is, requires to us do everything we can to encourage it. this is a conversation hife -- i've had throughout my meetings on this trip, whether in riyadh, london, or now here. th with respect to the ttp negotiations, what you are seeing is differences continually narrowing and i think it's up to the negotiators to try to find compromises and solutions on -- on all these issues.
the issue of dispute settlement is something that has gained a lot of attention and attraction. among those who generally oppose trade agreements. keep in mind that the vast majority of trade agreements already contain such dispute esolution mechanisms and the terrible scenarios that are painted in which suddenly corporations are going around suing countries so that they are not able to enforce their public health laws or their nancial regulations or other environmental laws, none of these things have happened with agreements that currently exist and that germany and the united states and the e.u. and others are already a party to.
so i think it's important for s to look at the facts and not bunch of hypothetical pronouncements. and the fact is that, for example, in the trance pacific partnership that we've negotiated, you have countries that right now have very few labor rights that now are required to have labor rights and, by the way, can be enforced by workers the same way that corporations have. you have environmental provisions that now are fully enforceable and that race -- raise standards in countries that may not even have up until this point any serious environmental laws in place. and to -- so if you look point by point, the issue is not whether or not there is going to be trade. the issue is under what terms? and i believe that drishes countries like the united
states, like germany that already have high standards, hat already make sure that how businesses operate are not completely based on profit but are also based on the common good, that that improves rather than detracts from the kinds of progressive goals that brought me into office in the first place. otherwise i wouldn't support these laws. and with respect to your last question i do not envy angela merkel for not having term limits. i have said this before. i love this job. it is an extraordinary privilege and i wake up every day knowing that what i do matters and that i can help somebody somewhere both inside the united states and around
the world, make the world a little safer, a little more prosperous, help some child get an education, help some disease get cured, it is an extraordinary privilege. but i have come to appreciate at least in the united states . e wisdom of our founders i think it's healthy for a big, diverse country like ours to have some turnover, to use a phrase from basketball, some fresh legs to come in and, or to use another sports analogy, that you know, i run my portion of the race, then i pass the baton to the next person. my goal between now and the time i leave is to make sure that when i turn over the keys to my office, that the desk is clean and if the world is not completely tidy that at least
it's significantly better off than the way i found it. now, having said that, i'm glad angela is still sticking around because i think the world benefits from her steady resence. and she is to be admired for her remarkable endurance. and as a private citizen, i will continue to admire her and appreciate the work that she is doing. by the way, what is happening with respect to her position on refugees here, in europe, she is on the right side of history on his. and for her to take on some very tough politics in order to express not just a humanitarian concern but also practical concern, that in this globalized
world it is very difficult or s to simply build walls. she is giving voice to the kinds of principles that bring people together, rather than divide them. i'm very proud of her for that. and i'm proud of the german people for that. thank you very much. >> the white house correspondents' dinner is this weekend. it will be the president's last. here is a brief portion of a speech he behave in 2011. the e