Biden participates in US-EU summit

By Kara Fox, Aditi Sangal, Ed Upright, Nick Thompson, Meg Wagner and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 3:34 p.m. ET, June 15, 2021
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12:25 p.m. ET, June 15, 2021

EU and US outline new "Transatlantic Agenda" for post-pandemic cooperation

From CNN’s James Frater

The European Union and the United States have, in a joint statement, reaffirmed their commitment to the transatlantic partnership, setting key objectives of cooperation as part of the new “Transatlantic Agenda” for the post-pandemic era. 

“We, the leaders of the European Union and the United States, met today to renew our Transatlantic partnership, set a Joint Transatlantic Agenda for the post-pandemic era, and commit to regular dialogue to take stock of progress,” the two parties said in a statement on Monday. 

“We have a chance and a responsibility to help people make a living and keep them safe and secure, fight climate change, and stand up for democracy and human rights,” the statement added. 

The joint statement, published by the European Council, comes after a meeting between EU officials and US President Joe Biden in Brussels, where talks focused on strengthening cooperation on matters including the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis, tech innovation and trade. 

“Together, we intend to: end the COVID-19 pandemic, prepare for future global health challenges, and drive forward a sustainable global recovery; protect our planet and foster green growth; strengthen trade, investment and technological cooperation; build a more democratic, peaceful and secure world," the statement said. 

“We are committed to uphold the rules-based international order with the United Nations at its core, reinvigorate and reform multilateral institutions where needed, and cooperate with all those who share these objectives,” the statement added. 

12:12 p.m. ET, June 15, 2021

US officials give details of upcoming Biden-Putin summit

From CNN's Kevin Liptak 

President Joe Biden steps off Air Force One at Geneva Airport in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday, June 15. 
President Joe Biden steps off Air Force One at Geneva Airport in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday, June 15.  Patrick Semansky/AP

President Joe Biden arrived in Geneva on Tuesday as US officials laid out the structure of his hotly anticipated talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Air Force One landed in Geneva around 10:20 a.m. ET local.

Officials aboard the plane said Biden would meet Putin at 1 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET) at the lakeside villa where the summit is occurring. Putin will arrive to the villa first. Both will be greeted by the Swiss president before all three pose for a photo

Their first meeting will contain four participants: Biden, Putin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Each side will have a translator, and there will be a pool photo-op at the start.

The meeting will then expand with five-member delegations on each side, in addition to Biden and Putin. It wasn’t yet clear who would participate in the US delegation.

US officials said they expected the talks to last four to five hours, or perhaps longer. The leaders are not expected to share a meal.

“No breaking of bread,” a senior administration official said.

The two leaders will conclude by convening separate press conferences.

Officials underscored the modest expectations for the talks, listing nuclear stability and other arms control agreements as a potential source of agreement. They said it was possible that areas of potential cooperation are farmed out to aides for further work

Ransomware is expected to factor heavily in the talks, and the official said Biden would underscore the US plans to respond to continued state-directed hacks.

Biden will raise human rights, the official said, but would not specify if that will include a discussion of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Both the US and Russian ambassadors to the respective capitals will be in Geneva for the talks.

The official said Biden has been reviewing the issues in written material and engaging with a wide variety of advisers in the lead-up to the summit.

11:12 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

Brussels summit “only the beginning” of “stronger alliance” between EU and US, council president says

From CNN’s James Frater

Tuesday’s meeting between European Union officials and US President Biden in Brussels is “only the beginning” of a “stronger” future relationship between the EU and the US, European Council President Charles Michel said Tuesday, describing Biden as a “partner we can rely on.” 

"It was a pleasure to host President Biden today. We share a long history with the United States, we shaped much of the last century and now it's time to shape this century,” Michel said during a press briefing. 

“There will of course still be sensitive, delicate issues to be dealt with between us, but we're in listening mode, we're listening to each other, and we can see our way forward to meet solutions and mutual benefit,” he added. 

Addressing members of the press, the European Council president said talks with Biden focused on cooperation on matters including the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis, tech innovation and trade.  

"We're very pleased with this renewed commitment of the Americans and I think today's very intensive session has been very good,” Michel said. 

“It's only the beginning, we shall continue to step up our cooperation to promote our shared values,” he added. 

11:05 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

Biden lands in Geneva ahead of summit with Putin

CNN
CNN

President Joe Biden has just landed in Geneva ahead of his summit wit Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

Biden will meet with Putin in two sessions tomorrow. One will be with a smaller group and one with be with a larger contingent of aides, according to a White House official.

It was still being worked out with the Russians what the exact composition of each meeting will be, though Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are expected to participate.

You can read more about Wednesday's summit: here.

3:24 p.m. ET, June 15, 2021

Biden held meeting with Russia experts to prepare for Putin summit

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand

President Biden held a meeting with a group of Russia experts earlier this month to get their input on dealing with Putin ahead of the summit, a person familiar with the meeting told CNN.

Among the attendees was Angela Stent, former National intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council, former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former National Security Council senior director for Russia Fiona Hill, former ambassador to Russia John Tefft, the controversial Russia expert Matthew Rojansky and former Deputy Secretary General of NATO Rose Gottemoeller. 

Axios was first to report the meeting and attendance of McFaul, Hill, Tefft and Gottemoeller.

The consensus of this group was that Biden shouldn’t hold a joint press conference with Putin at the end of their talks, according to sources familiar with the discussion.

This was not the first time Biden has convened Russia experts to brief him ahead of a Russia-focused meeting, per former official. He did the same as vice president.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled the names of John Tefft and Rose Gottemoeller.

9:42 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

Biden departs Brussels for Geneva

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Biden departs Brussels for Geneva.
Biden departs Brussels for Geneva. Source: Pool

President Biden has departed Brussels after a NATO summit and talks with EU leaders.  

During their meetings, the United States and European Union settled a 17-year disagreement over how much each subsidizes its largest aircraft manufacturer. The resolution underscores Biden's eagerness to restore transatlantic ties during his European tour and to normalize traditional US alliances after four years of strain.

Air Force One departed around 9:10 a.m. ET bound for Geneva, where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. 

9:41 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

"We must stand together for democratic principles," Harris says during the Brussels Forum

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

United States Vice President Kamala Harris called on democracies to recommit to the principals that keep them healthy during pre-recorded remarks to the Brussels Forum on Tuesday.  

Harris echoed what President Biden has said multiple times during his first foreign trip this week, that “America is back,” and committed to reengaging with Europe to strengthen the transatlantic partnership.

But she also stressed that democracy has been under attack in the US and around the world, and that the strength of one democracy depends on the strength of all democracies.

“The truth is we face many shared challenges: the pandemic and the resulting economic uncertainty, climate change, cyber threats, and the resulting security concerns, and, of course, the outright assault on democracy that is occurring around the globe,” Harris said.

“Democracies require constant intentionality, constant vigilance, constant effort. It is when we stop doing that work, when we neglect democracy, it is when we take democracy for granted, that the attacks are able to grow,” she added.

The Vice President also discussed the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, saying it was able to occur because of an undermining of basic facts and disinformation, “chipping away at public confidence in our press and scientists, our courts and our elections.”

“I will never forget the horror and the heartbreak of January 6, 2021, when our United States Capitol, a beacon of democracy for so many, came under siege by a violent mob who refused to accept the results of a free and fair election. It is not enough to say we cannot let something like that ever happen again. We must commit and recommit our democratic principles and lead by example. We must reinforce our democratic institutions to deliver real results and instill trust,” she said.

Harris said the world's democracies must unite to address threatening challenges, like corruption, injustices and human rights violations. 

“And that is why wherever, whenever human rights are violated, we must stand together. Just as we did when the United States and the EU issued joint sanctions against China for abuses in Xinjiang. Just as we did when we stood up to Russia for its attack on Alexei Navalny ... We must stand together for democratic principles,” Harris said.

8:42 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

Ahead of the Biden-Putin summit, here's a look at when US presidents have met Russian leaders

US and Russian leaders have met many times over the past century — sometimes as allies and sometimes as adversaries. The affairs, however, are always highly anticipated.

As US President Biden prepares to meet face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva tomorrow, here's a look back at some of some historical meetings between the two countries' leaders.

From left, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin attend the Yalta Conference in the Soviet Union in 1945. They were meeting to talk about a postwar plan for Europe and how it would be reorganized after the fall of Nazi Germany. Today, many historians conclude that Stalin was the "winner" at Yalta, as much of Eastern Europe would soon fall within the Soviet orbit. Churchill and Roosevelt won no meaningful concessions on Poland, which was already occupied by Soviet troops.
From left, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin attend the Yalta Conference in the Soviet Union in 1945. They were meeting to talk about a postwar plan for Europe and how it would be reorganized after the fall of Nazi Germany. Today, many historians conclude that Stalin was the "winner" at Yalta, as much of Eastern Europe would soon fall within the Soviet orbit. Churchill and Roosevelt won no meaningful concessions on Poland, which was already occupied by Soviet troops. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev shares a toast with US President Richard Nixon after they signed a few agreements during a summit in Washington, DC, in 1973. The two men also held productive meetings in Moscow in 1972, signing major arms-control treaties.
Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev shares a toast with US President Richard Nixon after they signed a few agreements during a summit in Washington, DC, in 1973. The two men also held productive meetings in Moscow in 1972, signing major arms-control treaties. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

US President-elect George H.W. Bush points out sights for Gorbachev while Reagan looks on, as they overlook New York Harbor from Governors Island in 1988.
US President-elect George H.W. Bush points out sights for Gorbachev while Reagan looks on, as they overlook New York Harbor from Governors Island in 1988. Boris Yurchenko/AP

Obama and Medvedev eat cheeseburgers in Arlington, Virginia, in 2010. Earlier, they met in the White House Oval Office.
Obama and Medvedev eat cheeseburgers in Arlington, Virginia, in 2010. Earlier, they met in the White House Oval Office. Martin H. Simon/Pool/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump chats with Putin on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, in 2017. Trump said he took Putin at his word that Russia did not seek to interfere in the US presidential election in 2016, despite a finding from US intelligence agencies that it did.
US President Donald Trump chats with Putin on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, in 2017. Trump said he took Putin at his word that Russia did not seek to interfere in the US presidential election in 2016, despite a finding from US intelligence agencies that it did. Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP/Sputnik/Getty Images

8:39 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

Biden warns against "phony populism" in EU summit

From CNN's Kevin Liptak 

The EU-USA Summit commences in Brussels, Belgium on June 15.
The EU-USA Summit commences in Brussels, Belgium on June 15. Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

As he began summit talks with European Union leaders on Tuesday, President Joe Biden warned against the "phony populism" spreading on the American and European continents.

"We’re in the midst of a terrible beauty having been born," he said, quoting Yeats. "A great shift in technology. A great shift in development in the world. It’s causing great anxiety in our countries.”

Biden was seated around a large circular table with European officials and American Cabinet members, including the secretaries of State and Commerce.

The summit was expected to produce breakthroughs on trade, including a resolution of the 17-year-old Airbus/Boeing dispute, and the formation of a new trade and technology council.

Economic and technological changes were causing political instability that has led to unfortunate outcomes, he said.

"It generates some folks, who are somewhat more like charlatans, trying to take advantage of those concerns," he added. "We see that in Europe and the United States, we see that around the world — the phony populism. It seems to me the best answer to deal with these changes is to have a circumstance where our economies grow and they grow together."

Biden said he wanted to address those issues during his talks with European leaders, which he is conducting a day ahead of traveling to Geneva to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Europe is our natural partner, and the reason is we’re committed to the same democratic norms, and they are increasingly under attack," he said.