24/01/2017 HARDtalk


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24/01/2017

Zeinab Badawi speaks to Ursula Von Der Leyen, Germany's defence minister, about whether the arrival of Donald Trump combined with Brexit mark a shift in power away from Europe.


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

:00:00.:00:00.

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

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

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

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

:00:37.:00:40.

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

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

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they can rely on the transatlantic partnership because there is a

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

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

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in each other and we have this transatlantic partnership because we

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

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

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

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

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

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

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second one is cyberspace manipulation. We will talk about

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

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

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there are challenges to the transatlantic partnership which is a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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there is a necessity of modernisation but it does not start

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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cooperation. Or an inclusive global management of problems and fairness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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gradually falling apart. Three powerful voices, not much confidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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consider first whether the targeted country had met its defence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump said concerning defence matters is that he has touted this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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interfered with the US elections, through its online attacks and

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

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

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And therefore I created a cyber command which is merging the

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intelligence officers with the IT officers. Cyber command means

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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a huge reaction in the Russian-speaking community in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:18:31.:18:36.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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population, to rethink our immigration and security policy, and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:20:33.:20:38.

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

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instability, in economic development, then it will be

:20:44.:20:46.

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

:20:47.:20:51.

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

:20:52.:20:55.

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

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

:21:02.:21:05.

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

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

:21:12.:21:15.

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

:21:16.:21:19.

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

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

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

:21:31.:21:33.

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

:21:34.:21:37.

potentially undermining trust and confidence in democratic

:21:38.:21:40.

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

:21:41.:21:45.

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

:21:46.:21:48.

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

:21:49.:21:53.

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

:21:54.:21:58.

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

:21:59.:22:03.

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

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

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

:22:13.:22:17.

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

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

:22:27.:22:30.

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

:22:31.:22:34.

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

:22:35.:22:39.

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

:22:40.:22:45.

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

:22:46.:22:49.

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

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

:22:54.:22:59.

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

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

:23:05.:23:09.

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

:23:10.:23:14.

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

:23:15.:23:18.

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

:23:19.:23:24.

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

:23:25.:23:30.

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

:23:31.:23:35.

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

:23:36.:23:39.

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

:23:40.:23:46.

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

:23:47.:23:48.

HARDtalk. Thank you.

:23:49.:23:53.

Zeinab Badawi speaks to Ursula Von Der Leyen, Germany's defence minister, from the World Economic Forum in Davos. She is also deputy chairman of chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU Party. Zeinab asks if the arrival of Donald Trump combined with Brexit mark a shift in power away from Europe and mark the beginning of a new global status quo?