Joe Biden

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Charles Yvon Michel of the European Council and an Exchange With Reporters in Brussels, Belgium

March 24, 2022

President Michel. We are very pleased, dear President, dear Joe, to welcome you again in Brussels. Your presence here and your participation in this European Council meeting is a very strong signal.

Our unity is rock solid, and we are very, very pleased to coordinate, to cooperate with you. These are difficult times, challenging times, and we need to take the right and the intelligent decisions for the future, for the security, for the stability.

And thank you for this excellent cooperation and coordination.

President Biden. Well, I came to congratulate a man who just got reelected without opposition. I dream about that someday.

But look, from the very beginning, I was of the view: The single most important thing that we have to do in the West is be united. I'm not saying that—that's not a euphemism. I mean it literally. Literally.

I spent some time with Vladimir Putin back in November and December, and we had a conference in Switzerland, at the time. And it was clear to me, and it was to you, that his intentions were very different than benign intentions.

And one of the things that he's tried to do—his overwhelming objective—and I've been speaking about it for a year and a half: His overwhelming objective is to demonstrate that democracies cannot function in the 21st century—because things are moving so rapidly, they require consensus, and it's too difficult to get consensus—and autocracies are going to rule. As a matter of fact, we've lost more democratic countries—fewer democratic countries today than there were 10 years ago.

And so, from the very beginning, my objective—and I had a great partner in this—was to see to it that we built total, complete unity among the major democracies of the world. I'm not joking about that.

That's why I called just a couple weeks ago and asked NATO to set up a new—a NATO meeting of the heads of state, and it was took—which took place today. And I fortunately am able to attend two other conferences.

But my point is: unity. Unity. And the very thing that Putin has tried to do from the beginning, and I've been saying this since my days as Vice President of the United States, is to break up NATO—break up NATO. He'd rather face 30 independent countries than 30 united countries and—with the United States of America. Not a joke. I'm being deadly earnest. I believe that's been his intention from the very, very beginning.

And so what I want to thank Michel for is the—Michel—is that the whole idea of the unity of Europe as a whole, not just NATO—the G-7 and this organization—really matters. It's the single most important thing that we can do to stop this guy who's—I—in our country, we believe he's already committed war crimes.

But thank you very much for the time, and thank you.

Q. President Biden, can the Americans still—[inaudible]?

President Michel. Thank you. Thank you.


Q. Mr. President, do you trust China? Do you trust China?

President Biden. Yes, we will discuss China. I've spent some time with Xi Jinping. And we're—I hope we're going to get a chance to discuss China.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 7:20 p.m. in a hallway of the Europa Building. In his remarks, he referred to President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia; and President Xi Jinping of China.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Charles Yvon Michel of the European Council and an Exchange With Reporters in Brussels, Belgium Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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