President Joe Biden met with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany at the White House on Thursday, October 6, 2023, to discuss a range of bilateral and global issues. The two leaders reaffirmed the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and Germany, which is based on shared values, interests, and history.
The meeting marked the first official visit by a German head of state to the United States since 2015, when former President Joachim Gauck met with former President Barack Obama. The visit also coincided with the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, which restored full sovereignty to Germany after its reunification in 1990.
The history of U.S.-German relations in the first half of the twentieth century was rocky, reflecting the two world wars in which the United States and Germany fought on opposite sides1. Since the end of World War II in 1945, U.S.-German relations have been a focal point of American involvement in Europe1. The United States supported West Germany’s economic recovery, democratic development, and integration into NATO and the European Union, while also maintaining diplomatic ties with East Germany during the Cold War. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent reunification of Germany in 1990, the United States and Germany became close allies and partners in promoting peace, security, and prosperity around the world.
President Biden and President Steinmeier discussed a number of pressing challenges that require close cooperation between the United States and Germany, as well as with other allies and partners. These include:
- The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and social impacts. The two leaders agreed to work together to accelerate global vaccination efforts, support equitable access to vaccines and treatments, strengthen health systems, and promote a sustainable recovery.
- The climate crisis and its existential threat to humanity. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement and to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. They also pledged to collaborate on clean energy innovation, green finance, and climate resilience.
- The defense of democracy and human rights at home and abroad. The two leaders expressed their concern about the rise of authoritarianism, corruption, and disinformation around the world. They vowed to defend democratic values and institutions, support civil society and independent media, and counter malign influences from adversaries.
- The security of Europe and its neighborhood. The two leaders reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to NATO and its collective defense. They also discussed the situations in Ukraine, Belarus, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia, and other regions of strategic interest. They agreed to coordinate their policies and actions to advance stability, security, and prosperity in these areas.
President Biden and President Steinmeier also celebrated the deep cultural and people-to-people ties that bind the United States and Germany together. They noted that millions of Americans have German ancestry or heritage, while hundreds of thousands of Germans have studied, worked, or lived in the United States. They highlighted the importance of educational and cultural exchanges, such as the Fulbright Program and the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program, for fostering mutual understanding and friendship between the two nations.
The two leaders concluded their meeting by reaffirming their mutual respect and friendship, as well as their determination to work together for a better future for both countries and for the world. They expressed their hope that their meeting would serve as a catalyst for further strengthening the U.S.-Germany alliance in the years ahead.