24/01/2017 HARDtalk


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ruling CDU party. Does the arrival of Donald Trump plus breaks it spell


the start of a new world order and mark a shift in power away from the


West? Minister Ursula von der Leyen, welcome to HARDtalk. Thank you. The


present -- the president of Germany has said, with the inauguration of a


new US President, we face challenges to the international order and to


transatlantic relations. Germany and Europe can no longer live as usual


on the trans- Atlantic partnership, can they? I am deeply convinced that


they can rely on the transatlantic partnership because there is a


strong foundation, the transatlantic partnership, almost 70 years, there


is a huge amount of common experience, of trust and confidence


in each other and we have this transatlantic partnership because we


share a common values. But here is your president who is stepping down


in March after five years and he is going through this period of


reflection and he is seeing it has challenges. Are you saying that his


concerns are not valid? Eddie says it is challenging, I would applaud.


What are the challenges? We have to major challenges. The first is


terror on the causes of terror. The crisis in the Middle East. The


second one is cyberspace manipulation. We will talk about


those but I have to put it to use that those challenges existed under


Barack Obama but he says under the inauguration of a new US president,


there are challenges to the transatlantic partnership which is a


different point. If you are not talking about the threats we are


facing together, let us talk about a new administration. I have been in


Davos and talking at the World Economic Forum to many Republican --


Republican Congressmen and Senators and it's interesting to listen to


them interpret what at that time, President elect, now President Trump


said, ought we did and what I sensed is there is a typical reaction, and


I am familiar with that, when you come into office and there is a


change of government and policies, there is a tendency to say what has


been is wrong and not enough and now we will come and change everything.


We will listen to that. I would say the transatlantic partnership, yes,


there is a necessity of modernisation but it does not start


today but it has already started. We will come to later when a moment but


to continue this, President Xi Jinping of China said the world is


on the verge of radical change. In ten years, we can expect a new world


order. There will be an alliance between China and Russia. Basically,


I am putting it to you that the West is in decline. The West in a


strategic way, needs strong alliances. He is talking to Russia


but I also had the chance to listen to this talk, the speech he gave and


it was interesting, there was a strong speech for free trade, or


cooperation. Or an inclusive global management of problems and fairness


within the economic systems. These were new tones. Power tones. He was


giving our speech. You are implying... He was giving our


speech. EC claiming the mantle of leader of the world? Filling the


vacuum? I would say that, I welcome this attitude, welcome to the club


and of course, this openness, this external openness has to be a code


and the most important thing is, I am very glad to listen to these


worlds but -- words but deeds have to follow. So China and Russia being


the new superpowers in a decade 's time, you refute that? Definitely.


There is the transatlantic element. I put it to you that the West is in


decline. It is look at your in particular. US -- Europe is in


crisis post Brexit, it really is. A couple of thoughts. The president of


Germany, the Joachim Gauck, a uniting force of the EU has declined


significantly. President Tom set up to Brexit, countries can follow the


UK's example and President Xi Jinping of China, the EU was


gradually falling apart. Three powerful voices, not much confidence


in your. Warning voices? Different points of view? Yes, the question


that is in front of us, do we want this European Union and do we want a


European family or can live without it? Am strongly in favour of a


European Union I think our future and the tackling, the problem we are


facing, when we am in the European Union, I do not think a single


country of the European Union, but even a large country like Germany,


can handle the problems as well as the European Union can do it. A


member of the family, you said the family of the European Union, a key


member, Britain, has decided to go it alone. Theresa May said, we are


not turning our backs on your up but we want to claim our place as our


history has always given us, in the world. Looking beyond Europe to


partners elsewhere. You are faced with this issue but you cannot make


makes it easy for Britain because as ' one -- Guy van Hofstadt, the key


negotiator, said, Britain will never accept the situation. You've got to


make it tough for Britain, haven't you? I think we should diminish the


tone that is always pushing towards make it tough, make it hard. All


these words. They do not make it easy. It will not make it hard to


disentangle. We should keep in mind that we are on the same side of the


front because we share many values together. We face many common


threats. Europe is -- if we find a smart and convenient way to organise


our future relation,, it is not in the European British interest that


one of the other is not doing well. But Theresa May said in her speech


on January 16, the UK would not accept a punitive approach to


Brexit, adding that no deal is better than a bad deal for Britain.


What are you going to do? Give Britain a good deal but that goes


against what Guy Verhofstadt said, if you make life too rosy, others


will follow. Well, yes, and the most important thing is, sit down and


start to negotiate. The concrete. All these extreme voices, be


concrete and then you see step-by-step, what is the common


interest? What is the large portion that we share and do good together


in a world that is larger than only Britain and the European Union. Are


you worried, minister, about Britain 's reaction? The Chancellor of the


Exchequer, Philip Hammond, told a German newspaper that Britain would


not lie down and accept economic damage incurred by a harsh deal. He


said the UK would change its economic and social model, have a


low corporate tax structure, he's got a strong finance sector, so


Britain could become this tax haven in the heart of Europe. You would be


very worried about that? These are things to sort out. I don't think it


is smart to go into attack stumping race and we have heard other voices


and the whole picture will not be complete if we do not look at the


final contract we have together. I don't think it is smart just to pick


the one or the other topic without even having sat down at the


negotiating table and two are to threats, how it could be. Would it


happen, issuing a threat? You heard him and its use -- it's his words.


It would be better to sit down and talk concretely instead of doing


things, one of the other, small issues. You are obviously Defence


Minister of Germany. That has turned to defence matters. Donald Trump, in


an interview in January that he gave to the times newspaper, he described


Nato as obsolete because it's not taking care of the jihadist threats.


What is your reaction? I think that we have this long history of trust


and reliance in Nato and we have the experience that is high value that


we have article five, it is one of us is attacked, all of us stand up.


We saw it with 9/11. The United States were being attacked by Al


Qaeda and all of us, we stood up and we are still in Afghanistan and it


is good that we have the proof that we can rely on each other. This is


the one part. Fighting terror started at that time. Al-Qaeda was


the first massive terror attack of a terroristic group said therefore, we


are in the process, globally, to fight terror. Nato plays a key rule.


Therefore, I think there are many objective facts that we need Nato.


He has also said other worrying things. You mention article five.


For example, if Russia were to attack a Nato member, he would


consider first whether the targeted country had met its defence


commitments before providing military aid. And he was very clear.


I think that... Have you raised that because that is a serious matter.


One part is, article five and our promise in the transatlantic


alliance to stand up for each other. It is not a question of cost


effectiveness. On the other hand, and beret with our American friends,


since long, I think you were pasted take over a fair share of the burden


and has to raise the defence budgets. That is the reason why


Germany, since a couple of years, we are raising the defence Budget. Way


higher than the proportion of the overall Budget in Germany. Your


intention is to raise it by 2020 but had to put it to you, Minister, that


Germany is not meeting Nato 's target on defence spending. It


should be 2% of GDP and is currently over 1% and even with your increased


spending, you will not meet your target. But the steps in right


direction. How will you meet a target? We are coming from a time


prime right after the reunification period of peace and the so-called


peace dividend. And when I came into office, I realised we had to have a


turnaround, a turnaround in armament, I need more personnel, I


need a strong rise in the Budget over years. This turnaround has been


accepted by Parliament which is very important so we have a clear plan.


We will invest over 130 billion euros over the next 15 years, surely


in armament. We are raising the amount of soldiers that we have. The


Armed Forces are 250,000 personnel, military and civilian ones, so the


numbers go on the right direction. Another aspect of what President


Trump said concerning defence matters is that he has touted this


idea of lifting sanctions against Russia, US and EU sanctions, which


were imposed after Russia took Crimea. And he is stating that if


there is a deal with Russia on nuclear arms reduction, he would


lift those sanctions. That is surely something that many people would


welcome? What we know is that Ukraine accepted to get rid of its


nuclear weapons. Many, many years ago. With a guarantee, a written


guarantee from Russia to respect and protect its border. This deal has


been violated by the annexation of Crimea. Therefore, it is very clear


that the combination, nuclear weapon reduction, and sanction reduction,


does not work at all. So it's not something Germany would support? Not


at all. The sanctions are connected to the Minsk agreement because of


the hybrid warfare of Russia in the eastern Ukraine and if we are


talking in terms of deals, this is the deal, Minsk agreement fulfilled,


then sanction reduction. OK, so that is clearly an area where


you don't see eye to eye with President Trump. In terms of Russia,


we have heard, of course, very, very serious warnings from the German


intelligence agencies that there is some kind of role that is coming


from Russia in terms of online attacks and misinformation, and you


are all very concerned about that because you have got your national


elections in September this year, and the US vice president in the


Obama administration, Joe Biden, said he had no doubt that Russia


interfered with the US elections, through its online attacks and


hacking. What are you doing to try to stop this? What action can you


take? It is a real concern, bots, trolls, fake news, we have it all.


And therefore I created a cyber command which is merging the


intelligence officers with the IT officers. Cyber command means


visibility, strength, and we are constantly addressing, in public,


the topics. Because the public has to understand what our bots, what


are trolls, what are fake news? We are learning in public now that not


every opinion out there is a real opinion, from a person, but it can


be an algorithm, it can be a computer driven opinions, that are


there. And therefore it is very important to realise what we do not


want is machine against human being. We want human beings in dialogue, to


have their opinions, and to debate about opinions. That is democracy.


But democracy is as it is is not machines against humans. Fake news


is one thing but on this issue of spying, hacking by Russia, you very


clearly pointed the finger at Russia. The NATO chief accepts that


there is a problem, that some states are doing this, but he has declined


to specifically name any country, including Russia. Would you like


NATO to do more? We have to prove it. Case by case by case. We have to


defend ourselves, support our cyber security, absolutely true. But we


have proved in Germany where it was clear that it was the Kremlin who


tried to interfere with public opinion. I will give you an example,


of the case where there was a rumour out that refugees, plural, had raped


a 13-year-old girl of Russian descent. None of it was true. It had


a huge reaction in the Russian-speaking community in


Germany, and it ended with the Foreign Minister of Russia saying


this time he hopes Germany would not hide the fact. So the good part in


it, in this is an ugly story, is that the German media dismantled and


showed the whole fake news plot. And what the intention is behind it.


Therefore we are learning the patterns. And I am talking about


that just to say, just to make sure, don't try to interfere in that way,


because we are showing the patterns to the public. Right, you mentioned


refugees, and of course Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany,


with her opendoor policy and taking in millions of refugees last year


has provoked quite a reaction. Even she has said that what has happened


will not happen again. You have got these national elections coming up


in September, in the spring you've got some regional elections. You are


Deputy Chair of the ruling CDU, which Angela Merkel is the chat, of


course. You must be very worried, particularly with the rise of some


of the anti-immigration parties like AfD, alternative for Deutschland.


The rise of the populist party AfD has... The migration flow in 2015


was the trigger, without any doubt. Different from other countries,


where you have populist movement as well, but the trigger was not the


economic system or the economic situation in Germany. We have a very


robust economy. We have unemployment that is as low as never before in


our history, almost no youth unemployment. We have rising wages,


rising pensions, stable prices, so the economy is strong. But the


experience of the almost 900,000 refugees in 2015 really worried the


public, without any doubt. And this made it easier for populist parties.


What happened this year is we have a reduction of the migrant flow. Less


than one third did come. So this is an improvement, and at the moment


being, you see that confidence is coming back. But what are you doing?


Because you know, the AfD took more votes than the CDU in Angela


Merkel's own home state. And I will tell you what one of your allies,


the leader of a very's Christian social union, which is allied to


your party, said we owe it to the victims of the terrible market


attack at Christmas in Berlin, to those affected and to the whole


population, to rethink our immigration and security policy, and


to change it. So what are you doing, in the light of the concern about


refugees, especially since people are concerned that some of them may


carry out terrible attacks like the one we in December in Berlin? Be


clear about the rules. We will always be open for a silent, people


who need asylum, because this is in our Constitution. But we a lot of


people coming to our economic migrants. This is no door to enter


our country. Economic migrants have to go back to their countries. These


are the rules. We have been working hard, and we are still working hard,


on improving the registration, on securing the outside border, on


clarifying who can stay and who has to go home. We are having a contract


now with Turkey, with some African countries. What I'm displaying is


you have to work on the root causes for what happened in 2015. And


slowly but surely, step I step, people realise if we don't work with


Africa, for example, on reducing migrant flows, invest in Africa


instability, in economic development, then it will be


difficult to tackle the problem. But if we do so, the migrant flows are


reduced, and this is the fruit of consistent policies, which we are


doing. Which is why we saw Mrs Merkel visit three African countries


in 2016. At this is a very key moment for Germany, the league


nation in the European Union. You know, one of the biggest economies


in the world. Your president has said just now democratic and stable


Germany faces threat, and he is looking at the jihadist threat that


we have talked about, and he is talking about obviously Brexit, and


also a new Trump presidency. So is a critical moment, isn't it, for


Germany? For Germany and for the open Society and democracy. Because


what he is talking about, he is painting a picture of all this is


potentially undermining trust and confidence in democratic


institutions, and what we have to do, and this is a crucial time,


stand up the open society. Fight for the urban society. Show that are


better off with freedom, freedom of press, freedom of opinion, freedom


of religion, but respect for human rights, the rule of law. He so we


have to speak up that this is the better model for the future, than


other proposals. I had to ask you now, turning to a personal matter,


you gave birth to seven children, including one set of twins. And you


know, we have heard some talk and debate sometimes about senior female


politicians, who haven't had children, like the British Prime


Minister, Angela Merkel. Do you think that is a reflection of


societal prejudices, or do you think it is cheap political pointscoring?


Is an absolutely necessary debate. So every single person, the man or


woman, rings along a certain biography. And a certain set of


values. And we deal with them, and within this context. But I would


never, ever reduce it to having children or not having children,


never. Now, your admirers also talk about you as being a successor to


Chancellor Angela Merkel, whenever she decides to step down. What do


you say to them? That every generation has a chancellor, and in


my generation is Angela Merkel. And I am very, very glad and proud that


I can serve with her. So is that no or a yes, or is it ducking the


question? It is dark and the question, isn't it? This is a nice


term, I didn't know it before. So elections in September, CDU are


going to come top and still be the government in Germany? Yes, I think


so. No shock outcomes like we saw with Brexit and the Trump victory?


No, we're working hard on that goal. There is a good probability we will


be able reach it. Ursula von der Leyen, thank you for coming on


HARDtalk. Thank you.


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