Macron, at the couple’s bilateral meeting later Thursday, is expected to press Biden on the economic impacts of the now 10-month war in Ukraine – which has not only hit the global economy, but also fueled an energy crisis. in Europe. The French president and a number of other European leaders have recently shown some resistance to an extension of the war and its inevitable economic toll on the continent.
In remarks from the Oval Office on Thursday just before the bilateral meeting, the French president said Russia’s war on Ukraine “will be the first topic of discussion” for the two leaders.
“It’s extremely important to have close coordination between us on these different issues,” Macron said as he sat next to Biden. “We want to repair the direct and indirect consequences of the war on our economies and our peoples.”
Macron has openly accused the United States of using protectionist policies, with trade issues also expected to be a main topic of his bilateral meeting with Biden. The French president specifically bristled at the clean energy tax incentives included in the Cut Inflation Act – a move that EU leaders say could cause sectors of their own economies to transfer operations in the USA.
“The choices made…are choices that will fragment the West because they create such differences between the United States and Europe that those who work in these companies/industries will simply decide not to continue. to invest on the other side of the Atlantic,” Macron said. during a speech at the French Embassy on Wednesday evening. “These choices can only work if there is coordination between us.”
Tensions were also stoked last year by what Biden has since acknowledged as a “clumsy” move that infuriated Paris. The Biden administration had rolled out an Indo-Pacific security pact in September 2021 between Australia, Britain and the United States – in which Australia reneged on a multi-billion dollar submarine supply deal. dollars with France to strike the new pact with the US and UK France was less than thrilled with the deal, leading Biden to call Macron a week later to calm diplomatic tensions and admit that Washington should have consulted Paris on the so-called AUKUS deal.
But during Thursday morning’s ceremony, Biden and Macron largely expressed their commitment to a united partnership between the two countries and to working together to solve global problems such as world hunger and climate change.
“It is our common destiny to respond together to these challenges, true to our history…determined to generate hope,” Macron said. “Long live the friendship between the United States and France.
However, they also both alluded to the difficulties of solidifying Western unity amid growing global unrest. Biden stressed that both countries must uphold democratic values and universal human rights as they confront Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine, and Macron said both democracies “are rocked by the same doubts”, including climate issues, misinformation and hate speech.
“The choices we make today and in the years to come will determine the course of our world for decades to come,” Biden said. “And the United States could not ask for a better partner in this work in France.”
After the welcoming ceremony to much fanfare, Biden and Macron entered the White House for their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office. The two will host a press conference later in the morning, and the Bidens will host the Macrons for a state dinner on Thursday evening.
Despite the differences the countries are currently facing, the two leaders on a personal level seem to have a good-natured relationship. Asked by a reporter after Thursday’s welcoming ceremony why he chose Macron for his first state visit as president, Biden replied, “Because he’s my friend.”
The Macrons and Bidens also exchanged a number of sentimental gifts during the visit. One of Macron’s many gifts to the president and first lady included a vinyl and CD of the soundtrack to the 1966 film “A Man and a Woman,” which is the film the Bidens went to see during their first date. Bidens’ official gift to Macron and his wife was a personalized wooden mirror fallen from the grounds of the White House, which is a reproduction of a mirror from the White House collection.