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Statement From Secretary Jacob J. Lew At Bilateral Meeting With German Minister Of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble

Location: Berlin, Germany

I would like to thank the Minister of Finance again for the warm welcome on my third trip to Germany as Secretary. We have met every few months since I became Treasury Secretary and I deeply appreciate our close cooperation on the wide range of shared interests between the United States and Germany.

Let me start with a few words about developments in Ukraine and Russia. We support President Poroshenko's efforts to bring peace to Ukraine, including his offer of a ceasefire, which he reiterated in a call on Tuesday to President Putin. President Poroshenko has been clear since he took office that he is committed to finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis, and he has offered to grant amnesty to separatists within Ukraine and provide safe passage back to Russia to those Russian militants operating in eastern Ukraine. He also has committed to continue a national dialogue to unite the country and support efforts to decentralize power to address the legitimate concerns of the Ukrainian people.

We commend these good-faith efforts by the Ukrainian government to pursue national unity and peace. We are heartened by the progress the government continues to make despite the significant challenges it faces. And we have worked to foster that progress by helping to mobilize $27 billion in international donor support for Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government, however, needs a partner in this effort. The separatists must lay down their arms and participate in a political process. And Russia must support a peace plan instead of continuing its support for militants and separatists who are further destabilizing the situation and instead of allowing the provision of arms and materiel across the border.

The President has made clear that a failure to take these steps would only deepen Russia's isolation. And we continue to urge Russia to work with Ukraine to reach a negotiated resolution to the current situation. But if Russia is unwilling to reverse course, the United States and the international community is prepared to impose additional cost.

Germany's leadership within the European Union has helped maximize pressure on Russia by imposing targeted sanctions on Russian officials and Putin's inner circle, and other individuals and entities who have attempted to destabilize Ukraine.

With respect to the U.S. economy, evidence continues to mount that our economy is gaining traction. The U.S. private sector created over 1 million jobs since this January. And, after a slow first quarter, partly because of a harsh winter, based on positive economic reports for the past several months, we, along with most forecasters, expect the underlying strength from the end of last year to continue and lead to a much stronger second quarter and second half of this year.

Europe has also seen progress. German growth continues and steps are being taken to solidify and broaden the recovery across Europe.

While these developments are heartening, Minister Schäuble and I agreed during our meeting that more can be done in both the United States and Europe to strengthen growth and job creation, particularly through efforts to boost public and private investment. Greater investment would help generate much needed demand in the near-term while also supporting longer-term growth potential. This is also why coordinated global efforts like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are so critical to our overall economic strategy and we both agree on the importance of continued negotiations to reach an agreement.

Germany and the United States are important partners, and I look forward to our continued collaboration on policies that bolster growth, enhance trade, promote energy security, and strengthen our regulatory frameworks -- for our two nations' economies and across the world.

Thank you.

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