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Background Press Call on an Update on the President’s Second Day at the G7

Background Press Call on an Update on the President’s Second Day at the G7
Background Press Call on an Update on the President’s Second Day at the G7

Via Teleconference

7:46 P.M. CEST

MODERATOR:  Hey, everyone.  We’ll get started.  As a reminder, this is a call on background, attributable to a senior administration official, to sort of give a run-through of today’s day and any updates that might have happened since we all talked earlier today.

For your awareness, not for your reporting, today’s senior administration official is [senior administration official].  He has a few words here at the top, and then we’ll try to get as many questions in as we can before he has to pop off.

So, over to you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Sam.  Hi, everybody.  Thanks for jumping on.  Sorry it took so long to connect.  Our final session just wrapped, and then, as you know, we had the family photo.  So we’re finally free. 

Let me do two — let me do three things.  One, I’ll give you a few updates on the Russian sovereign asset deal.  I’ll then try to give you a sense of what was discussed today.  And then I’ll summarize key deliverables from the communiqué, which just got approved 15 minutes ago, and it should be released imminently if it hasn’t been already. 

So, first on Russian sovereign assets.  Look, I know there are a lot of questions about the technical details of the agreement, which are being worked out as we speak, but we shouldn’t lose sight of what’s already happened this week, which I truly believe was historic: The G7 found a way and agreed to make Russia pay.  And just put that into context.  Never before in history has a multilateral coalition immobilized the sovereign assets of an aggressor country and then found a way to unlock the value of those assets for the benefit of the aggrieved party as it fights for its freedom.  That’s what happened at this G7. 

And it’s a testament to President Biden’s belief that multilateralism is a force multiplier for American interests.  And I want to underscore the G7 took this step while respecting the rule of law in every G7 jurisdiction, while maintaining our solidarity. 

So let me give you some technical — some updates on technical details that I think are incremental to what I told you yesterday.

First, we spoke yesterday about which countries will participate in the deal.  And the answer really is that every G7 country is going to do its part.  Some countries are going to contribute to the loan; others will contribute to the repayment.  Others still will provide guarantees of repayment if the income flow isn’t sufficient to service and repay the loan in full. 

But the basic contours are what you know: Fifty billion U.S. dollars’ worth will be provided to Ukraine starting this year.  And the loans will be repaid by the income on the immobilized assets. 

As for the U.S., we’ve already shared that we’re prepared and willing to make a loan of up to $50 billion.  But I can now confirm the U.S. won’t be the only lender.  Canada went public — I believe all of you probably know — yesterday with their intention to contribute $5 billion.  Europe has suggested it might wish to make at least half of the total loan.  Japan is finalizing its plans.  And we also already know the repayment will be made with income from the immobilized assets, most of which are held in the EU but not exclusively.  And there’s at least one jurisdiction that’s exploring, as I mentioned, how it can provide a sovereign guarantee for the full repayment of the loan. 

Second, on how the proceeds will get distributed to Ukraine, the answer is: The money will flow to Ukraine through multiple channels.  Europe has a preference to flow its loan contribution to the Ukrainian military through an existing European facility, namely the European Peace Facility.  Other G7 members — Japan, for example — Japan has a legal requirement to make its potential contribution to Ukraine’s budget and not for military purposes. 

But as I mentioned yesterday, regardless of the destination, all of these contributions are reinforcing.  Think of it this way: The more budget relief provided to Ukraine, the better it can sustain its defense.  And the more successful Ukraine can be on the battlefield, the more sustainable its finances will become. 

Third update on the implication for Ukraine’s finances.  I know there are questions about this.  So, again, the loan will be repaid with proceeds from the immobilized assets, and that means Ukraine can treat these funds as a grant.  That’s important because if it’s not expected to repay any portion of the loan from its own budget, it doesn’t change Ukraine’s debt to GDP ratio. 

Fourth, on governance.  Now, for the money that’s going to be directed to reconstruction, what you’ll see in the communiqué is a nod to an existing facility to which all G7 members belong, and is co-chaired by the U.S. and the EU, and that’s called the Ukraine Multi-Donor Coordination Platform.  I know it’s a mouthful.  But its purpose is to do just what it sounds like: It coordinates the flow of money coming into Ukraine, and it directs it to Ukraine’s highest priorities at a pace that it can effectively absorb.  That platform already exists, and we intend to strengthen it. 

The fifth detail is on Belgium’s role.  There have been many questions about Belgium.  And as I said yesterday, we fully expect that the EU-27 will meet this moment and, with the G7’s direction, authorize the continued immobilization of Russia’s sovereign assets.  The reason I say that is that European G7 countries have now committed at the highest political levels to seek that approval from Brussels.  But it’s not the only option for the assets to remain immobilized.  We are also closely engaged with Belgium.  As you know, one of Belgium’s companies has a large share of the total immobilized assets.  And I’ll just say they have played and will continue to play a very constructive role as partners in this effort. 

Sixth, last incremental update on Russian sovereign assets:  Ukraine’s reaction.  You all know — most of you were there, if not all of you — we had the bilateral security agreement signing last night with Ukraine.  And during those discussions, Ukraine welcomed the $50 billion commitment, both because of the direct impact it will have in funding Ukraine’s fight for freedom but also the psychological signal it sends. 

Just step back and consider what’s been announced this week: an historic agreement to mobilize Russia’s sovereign assets to fund Ukraine’s fight; a string of bilateral security agreements with Ukraine, none more important than ours last night; and arguably the most significant tightening of our sanctions regime to disarm the Russian war machine in years.

So it has the potential to create a psychological inflection point now going into the NATO Summit in July. 

All right, so I’m happy to take questions on the Russian sovereign assets deal, but let me go through what happened today and just give you a quick wrap of the summit overall. 

So, today there were three sessions.  First, the President participated in a session on migration.  I would say he used that session and he drove the conversation around his framework for managing migration, which is really based on the Los Angeles Declaration he launched in May of 2022.  It has three elements.  One, to promote humane and coordinated enforcement of the border.  Two, to strengthen pathways for legal migration and to integrate migrants into host communities.  And three, to support efforts to address the root causes of migration. 

He also remarked, as he has before, that, you know, more people are on the move today than at any time in history and that the risks are two-sided.  Migrants bring immense talent into our country but also challenges that require cooperation.  And I would say the conversation among leaders was largely centered around how to turn migration into an asset rather than a liability. 

He then participated in a session on the Indo-Pacific region.  And I would say most of that discussion focused on a diagnosis of the economic and national security threats from China’s efforts to dominate strategic sectors.  You’ll see in the communiqué a shared diagnosis of the problem we and, I would say, most of the world shares, which is we have unrivaled policy distortions coming out of China.  That’s giving rise to an unfair competitive advantage that’s manifest in the overcapacity that China is producing in strategic sectors.  And that’s a problem for three reasons.  It’s undercutting our own investments in our productive capacity.  It’s reducing our supply chain resilience.  And it’s threatening our national security interests, particularly when it undercuts our ability to remain preeminent in foundational technology. 

So, on that — against that backdrop, what you’ll see in the communiqué is the G7 is collectively calling out those risks and then collectively pledging to take action, again, in a way that’s shared.  You’ll see references throughout the communiqué to investing in our own industrial capacities.  You’ll see references as well on giving each other, and countries that play by the same rules, fair access to our markets and to our production.  And then also our shared willingness to take restrictive measures, where it’s necessary, to protect our workers and industries from practices that are causing harm. 

The last session today was when President Biden and His Holiness Pope Francis and the G7 leaders and the outreach countries discussed AI.  And here, the context was — the way President Biden talked about it was: We’re going to see more technological change in the next five years than we saw in the last 50 years.  And so we have to deepen our cooperation to harness the promise of artificial intelligence and also manage the potential perils.

Specifically in terms of harnessing the promise, most of the focus was on addressing the potential effects of AI on our labor markets and the efforts we can take to bridge skills gaps with the private sector.  So you’ll see in the communiqué a new consortium that’s designed to identify job roles that are most likely to get impacted by AI and to identify the skills and the competencies that will be needed to avoid displacement effects and try to create more potential for augmenting productivity and developing training programs around it. 

And then the other part of the conversation was around how to make artificial intelligence safe and secure and how we can use policy to do so.  And that includes testing AI systems before they get released.  There was quite a bit of mention of watermarking content that’s generated by AI, flagging AI algorithms that can reinforce bias, requiring developers of the most powerful systems to share results of safety tests with the government. 

I would say these are all aspects of what’s included in the President’s executive order for AI.  So, that — it actually — the AI executive order was echoed in much of the conversation that took place today. 

I would just say lastly, stepping back and thinking about the deliverables, the key takeaways from the communiqué as you read through it, to me there are five or six that stand out.  One is what we talked about at the top: the shared effort to fund Ukraine’s fight for freedom.  And that really has been accomplished by mobilizing Russian sovereign assets.  The leaders took a very important first step, but it was a necessary and crucial step, and it can be continued in the weeks and months ahead.  But this step had to be taken so that political leaders could give direction to technocrats to do what they do, which is now finalize the technical details. 

The second real deliverable is to agree on defunding and disarming the Russian war machine.  There was unanimous agreement that the Russian military has been sustained by transforming its entire economy into a war machine and because China and other countries have been willing to serve as the (inaudible) war machine. 

And so, you saw the United States announce an aggressive expansion of our sanctions that now allows us to sanction any foreign bank that deals with sanctioned Russian banks or companies or individuals.  And that’s going to meaningfully disrupt Russia’s ability to export — import dual-use items that are being used on the battlefield. 

It’s a really simple message: If Russia’s entire economy is now a cog in its war machine, then no banks outside of Russia should have any dealings with sanctioned Russian banks or companies that are funding and fueling the war machine.  If they do, they’ll lose access to our financial system. 

You also saw this week our announcement of the expansion of our export controls.  It used to be just U.S. origin products.  Now it’s going to be U.S.-branded products.  That’s going to cover a much broader range of battlefield components that are made with U.S. tools or technology that are either being produced abroad or that transit through third countries abroad. 

And then we also backed up our words with actions.  That’s why we sanctioned over 300 firms, many of which were outside of Russia.  So that’s a key shift in our sanctions strategy. 

The third deliverable was what I mentioned about the China conversation.  There was a collective diagnosis and a collective agreement to confront the economic and national security threats from China.  And you saw — you’ve seen our actions in terms of tariffs in strategic sectors.  You heard this week about the EU’s actions.  And other countries that have yet to act made commitments to follow suit. 

The fourth deliverable, which we didn’t talk about on this call yet, is delivering a better value proposition to developing countries.  And that was the whole purpose of the outreach to 12 countries outside of the G7.  They want a genuine partnership.  They want transparent alternatives to coercive forms of lending.  They want the ability to make investments they need to combat climate change and to invest in their own healthcare and education.  And the G7 agreed to do everything it can to meet that demand, because our own security, our own prosperity depends on it. 

So three items you’ll see in the communiqué: One is — and this is consistent with the Nairobi-Washington Vision you heard President Biden announce with President Ruto — scale up sustainable and transparent financing and debt relief for developing countries that have ambition to make investments to address climate change and to address other global challenges.  And PGI is a big part of it, but you’ll see references to debt relief measures as well. 

Two is: We have to keep boosting the financial firepower of the World Bank and other MDBs, and you’ll see specific references to how we do so. 

And then third: Ending the freeriding of China, because since 2019, China has been net-taking money out of low- and middle-income countries due to it being — paying back 100 cents on the dollar for the debt that it’s provided to these developing countries.  Meanwhile, we and the MDBs, the multilateral development banks, have been collectively putting money in.  So there’s a collective agreement to stop that form of freeriding.

And then, AI and migration were the other two main (inaudible), but we already spoke about that. 

So let me pause here and take your questions.  Thanks.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our first question will go to JJ with Bloomberg.

Q    Hey, can you hear me?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I can hear you, Jennifer.

Q    Hey.  I’m just wondering if there was any conversation amongst the leaders about the cost of the war in Ukraine and how much rebuilding will cost.  And if there was (inaudible), can you share some numbers please?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, there was a discussion about that, Jennifer, in two ways.  One is, you know, the costs of reconstruction are continuing to grow.  The last estimate from the World Bank was $486 billion.  It’s undoubtedly larger, especially given all the damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in recent weeks. 

But the conversation then focused on who should pay, and that’s where the Russian sovereign asset approach — sorry, proposal, came in.  And there was, of course, unanimous agreement that when it comes to financing the eventual reconstruction of Ukraine, it’s only fair that Russia, not our taxpayers, foot the bill. 

The second part of your question was really — sorry, Jennifer, say again?

Q    Oh, just two things.  I just wanted to know the cost of the war and then the cost of reconstruction. 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, so beyond — I mean, beyond the World Bank estimate, there wasn’t a numerical estimate that was updated in the discussions.  But there was an agreement, there was an understanding that the costs are mounting.  And the conversation really focused on the fairness of forcing Russia to pay rather than taking on more of the burden among G7 countries.

MODERATOR:  Awesome, thank you.  Our next question will go to David Sanger with the New York Times.

David, you should be able to unmute yourself.  Are you able to hear me?

Q    Are you able to hear me now?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I can hear you, David.

Q    Great.  Thanks very much for doing this.  I wanted to go back to the discussion about China, because it sounds different to me than the way the G7 has usually talked about China.  Usually, there’s been sections of the communiqué that referred to China as a partner or whether it was counterterrorism, nonproliferation in dealing with Iran, and so forth. 

As I look at the communiqué here, it’s almost all pretty critical.  There’s a section on, obviously, supplying the Russian war machine that you referred to.  There’s sections on oversupply.  There are sections on your concerns about their cutting off critical minerals.  Was this notable in the discussion?  Can you give us a little bit of a sense of what the China discussion looked like?  Did it strike you as taking a pretty universally negative tone?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I think it was just — it was a realistic conversation, David, that, as time goes on, it’s more clear that President Xi’s ambition is to restore China’s dominance, at least in the Indo-Pacific, possibly beyond.  And that effort is mostly taking place through an effort to establish economic and technological primacy.  And that’s the explicit objective of Made in China 2025 that was referenced several times this week.  It’s somewhat more subtle with the Belt and Road Initiative.  And there was also an observation that China appears to believe that democracies are in structural decline.  So he now appears to be taking tactical risks to realize his strategic ambitions. 

And as it relates to economics, I mean, there’s a corollary, which is the observation that China’s economic model, it’s increasingly state-led and centralized.  And it’s unlikely — none of the leaders felt as though the trend line was likely to change, because market-oriented reforms require a loss of control that the leadership appears unwilling or unable to accept.  So if that’s the case, then China’s growth strategy is going to remain underpinned by national champions and state-owned enterprises that rely on unrivaled levels of government subsidies and non-tariff barriers and currency distortions and weak energy standards, weak labor standards, sometimes outright theft. 

And the implication is that G7 businesses are in an unfair competition against the Chinese government.  And that has very serious costs to our economies, especially in trade-affected communities, but then even more profound damage to our supply chain resilience and our national security, even our political economy.  That was the nature of the conversation. 

So, you know, I think it’s just an acceptance of the competition that we’re in.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Danny with AFP.

Q    Hey, how you doing?  I just wanted to ask: Vladimir Putin said today that Ukraine must withdraw troops to start peace talks, which is obviously completely unrealistic.  Do you think that this kind of uncompromising position is partly a way of hitting back at all the steps that the G7 has taken and also at the 10-year security deal?  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  You know, as usual, I can’t really give you any confident interpretation of what’s going on inside President Putin’s mind.  But most of these proposals that he’s floated, they have not made their way directly to Ukraine.  So that’s what stands out, is they’re being made in public rather than where they ought to be directed, which is to Kyiv.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Tyler Pager with the Washington Post. 

Q    Thanks so much.  I’m wondering if you can give us any more context or color about what the President and Pope Francis talked about in their private meeting.  Was there any specific discussion on certain topics?  Any color or more detail on that meeting would be great.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, sorry, Tyler — I left the President to come and talk to all of you, so I missed the meeting.  But it had a very — I can tell you they had a very warm embrace when the Pope arrived to the AI session, although I can’t speak to what was said in private just now.  I think we’ll have something for you in the aftermath if I’m not mistaken.  Sam, you can correct me.

MODERATOR:  I think we should.  Eduardo should actually be the one who confirms that. 

MR. MAIA SILVA:  That’s right, we’ll have a readout. 

MODERATOR:  Perfect.  Our next question will go to Andrea Shalal with Reuters.

Q    (Inaudible.)  (Poor audio connection.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Andrea, I’m sorry, it cut out.

Q    (Inaudible) China?  Can you hear me?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I didn’t hear your question.  I’m sorry.

Q    Sorry.  So, this question has been on my mind for the last few days.  With all the measures that you’ve taken regarding China, spanning from debt to the overcapacity issue to the aiding of the Russian war effort, but also to the frustration on the debt front, I’m wondering if this is a pivot point or shift in terms of the relationship; if you see this as like a major inflection point in the way that the West is going to interact with China.  And whether — and what are the implications of that for the efforts that President Biden and the administration have taken over the past year or so to mend — you know, ease tensions with China get back to a more balanced relationship where there can be communication and coordination?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Andrea, I think it’s a continuation of what you’ve seen during this administration.

Q    And then separately, if you could just say whether the President had any sort of sideline pull-asides with the Indian Prime Minister and others.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, thanks, Andrea.  I was — I would characterize this as a continuation of the policy that we’ve had in place over the course of this administration.  And it’s still centered on investing in ourselves.  And there was quite a bit of discussion about the IRA and the CHIPS Act, the infrastructure bill, all of the supply-side investments that the President has managed to legislate during his term. 

It’s also very much still about creating partnerships and establishing and updating rules that we all play by so we can give each other access to the results of the investments we’re making. 

But, you know, where we have to confront China, we’re doing so, and it’s a continuation of that effort.  I would say what’s different, perhaps, about the most recent actions is that some of China’s actions to support the Russian war machine are now not just threatening Ukraine’s existence, but European security and transatlantic security.  And so, it’s taken on a new form, and that’s why the sanctions measures that were announced this week are so serious.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to James from the Financial Times.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Oh, sorry, I didn’t answer Andrea’s second question.

There were brief exchanges during the — just before and just after the outreach session today, Andrea, but I wouldn’t characterize those as bilats.  These were 60- to 90-second exchanges at most.

Q    Hi there.  Thanks for doing this.  I was wondering if there were any discussions about some of the market turmoil here in Europe, especially in France, in the wake of the elections — the EU elections on Sunday and Macron’s call for new parliamentary elections.  Is that a concern for the U.S. in terms of market stability?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, I mean, we’ve been in meetings all day, so I don’t know what happened.  I’ve heard that French bond yields have started to widen relative to German bond yields. 

But I think, on the whole, what you see from the election results — there’s clearly been some pickup in the votes earned by right-leaning parties, but by and large, the center has held.  And that was largely on display here in Puglia as well.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Patsy with VOA.

Q    Hey, thank you.  On the Russian frozen assets — so these countries that have come out with pledges of their own portions of the loan, are they — just to make sure, are they basically guaranteeing the loan and also eating the loss if rates fall and they won’t get the estimated whatever interest rate it was as promised or as predicted?

And if you can comment on the fact that the statement came out — the communiqué came out with leaders reiterating commitments in Hiroshima, but we see a removal of the phrase “access to safe and legal abortion” that we saw in last year’s summit.  If you can comment about, kind of, the dynamics behind that and what was the U.S. position.  Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, on the first question — sorry, you were asking about how different countries are going to participate in the loan?  I’m sorry, it cut out.  My signal is not the best.

Q    Oh, yeah.  Yeah, so essentially, yeah, how each country will participate in the loan.  You mentioned some pledges already.  How firm are those pledges?  And are they basically saying that they are going to guarantee the loan and eat the losses if the rates fall?  Because that was one of the concerns as I understand it.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Okay, understood.  So, yeah, I think there are three forms of participation: making a loan to Ukraine through an intermediary; contributing income to repay the loan; or offering a guarantee of repayment to the lenders or some portion of the loan that’s made. 

And we, the U.S., have committed to make up to $50 billion of lending available to Ukraine.  Canada, I believe, went public yesterday with a $5 billion commitment.  And the European Union and Japan are actively considering whether to join in the loan syndicate.  So they have to speak to whether their plans have become final.  The UK is considering a way to guarantee the repayment of loans that are made.  And then the European Union is also going to play a very large role, of course, in providing the income from the immobilized assets that’s used to repay the loans. 

So it can come in multiple forms.  The commitments have already been made public by the U.S. and Canada.  It may be that others have done so over the course of the last few hours.  I have not seen that yet.  But I would expect you’ll hear more from them in the coming days. 

Your second question on the language in the communiqué — I mean, I’ll just read to you.  You may have it in front of you, but the language related to abortion says, “We reiterated our commitments from the Hiroshima communiqué, specifically the commitment to universal access as it relates to adequate, affordable, and quality health services for women, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.”

So some of the words may not be identical, but the commitments are the same.  And that’s very much the intent of what was put in the communiqué.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to MJ Lee with CNN.

Q    Hey, can you hear me okay?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Hi, MJ.  Yes, I can.

Q    Great.  Just on the last answer that you gave about the language on reproductive rights, was the President fully satisfied with the final language that ended up being included in the communiqué?  And I wondered also whether there were any specific discussions about potentially including a specific reference to LGBTQ rights in the final version.

And then, separately, there was another official talking to reporters earlier today who said that the topic of Trump — the possibility of a second Trump term hadn’t come up, at least as far as they were aware, amongst the leaders so far.  And I just wondered whether that had been your experience as well so far, or if you have been privy to any discussions about the U.S. presidential election and the possibility of Trump’s return, this week.  Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure.  So, first, MJ, on your question about the President’s stance on the language in the communiqué on abortion — I mean, he stands fully behind the language that made its way into the final communiqué.  He felt strongly about the language that made it through.

On LGBTQIA+, there is a reference.  It’s in the gender equality section.  I wouldn’t read too much into where the language is placed.  It says, “We express our strong concern about the rollback of the rights of women and girls and LGBTQIA people around the world, in particular in time of crisis.  And we strongly condemn all violations and abuses of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”  And this is largely what we had in place last year.  Again, the words are different; the commitments are the same.

On your question around whether our election came up explicitly, I think the answer to that, honestly, is no.  The conversation was mostly around the fact that this is the year of the election, and many remarked that more than 60 countries are going to the ballot box, more people are voting this year than in human history.  And it’s a moment for leaders to demonstrate that multilateralism is still a force multiplier. 

And there was also an observation made by almost all of the leaders — I believe all of them actually — that the G7 is now more unified and purposeful than it’s ever been in its 50-year history.  And that unity has been built with trust — trust earned through difficult decisions and hard moments.  That’s been the track record of the G7 for the past three years.  I think it’s the track record President Biden established early on in Cornwall, and it was — I think it was cemented this week.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our final question will go to Beatriz with EFE.

Q    Hi.  Thank you for taking my question.  In your opening remarks, you mentioned — my question is about the frozen assets.  In your opening remarks, you mentioned that the European Union suggested that they might cover (inaudible) —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I’m sorry, you’re cutting out, Beatriz.

Q    Sorry.  Can you hear me now?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Could you try that again? Yeah, I heard half of your question but not the second half.

Q    It’s about the frozen assets and the European contribution to the loan.  I want to know if there is a specified — like a precise amount that they have committed to.  What is exactly the role?  If you can provide a little bit more detail.  And also, if this commitment came from the European union representatives or from countries like France and Germany that are part of Europe.  Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure.  So the first step — this is something we discussed briefly yesterday.  The first step Europe has to take now is to go to the EU-27 and get the entire membership to commit to the continued immobilization of the Russian reserves.  We feel encouraged by this week because the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, and the European Commission and the European Council has committed that they are going to keep the assets immobilized in their countries and they’re going to seek approval — you see in the communiqué — seek approval to do so in the required intergovernmental organizations.  I think that’s the term of art that’s used.

And once that step has been taken, Europe will be in a — the EU will be in a position to decide what portion of the $50 billion loan they wish to take on.  The suggestions that were made this week were that could be as much as half of the entire loan.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And thank you, everyone, again for joining us and bearing with us today.  We really appreciate your patience and flexibility.

As a reminder, today’s call was held on background, attributable to a senior administration official.  For those traveling, hope you get back safe.  And enjoy your weekend. Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, everybody. Safe travels.

    8:22 P.M. CEST 

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Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2024/06/15/background-press-call-on-an-update-on-the-presidents-second-day-at-the-g7/