White House hosts French President Macron in state visit : NPR

French President Emmanuel Macron greets President Biden before their meeting at the French Embassy at the Vatican in Rome on October 29, 2021.

Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

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Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron greets President Biden before their meeting at the French Embassy at the Vatican in Rome on October 29, 2021.

Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will host his first state dinner at the White House on Thursday for French President Emmanuel Macron, the return of some of the more ceremonial diplomacy that has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic- 19.

The White House said the visit by Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte would underscore the deep relationship with the United States’ oldest ally.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said France is not only the United States’ oldest ally but also a “significant global partner” on a number of key issues.

“If you look at what’s going on in Ukraine, look at what’s going on in the Indo-Pacific and the tensions with China, then France is really at the center of it all.” , Kirby said. “And so the president feels that this is exactly the right and most appropriate country to start state visits.”

The state visit is one of the most exciting events held at the White House. It included an elaborate welcome ceremony, a press conference between the two leaders and a formal dinner, which this year will feature a performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Jon Batiste.

The Macrons arrived on Tuesday night for a three-day visit, which included a visit to NASA headquarters with Vice President Kamala Harris and lunch at the State Department.

During their stay, Macron and his wife will sleep at the historic Blair House, across from the White House.

As a signal of the importance of France, Macron is indeed returning for a second state visit. He was also the first guest of former President Donald Trump at a state dinner.

Macron has become an important headset for Biden across the Atlantic

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has retired and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned, making Macron, 44, despite his young age, one of Europe’s most experienced leaders.

“France has risen to the top,” said Charles Kupchan, senior adviser for European affairs at the White House under Obama. “The next partner of the US used to be the UK, but the UK has left. The European Union has been tied in political knots.

It also symbolizes the restoration of an important relationship go bad because of a submarine deal with Australia last year angered France.

The two teams said they are looking forward to and focusing on the most pressing global issues, including Russia’s war in Ukraine and the challenges posed by China and Iran.

The leaders are also expected to discuss climate issues, energy and economic cooperation.

But the visit is not without its challenges.

Célia Belin, a former policy adviser to the French Foreign Ministry, said that while there were lingering trust issues in the defense sector following the submarine incident, the war in Ukraine posed those problems. .

“The war has reminded people of what is really at stake,” said Belin, now a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Paris. “And the most important thing is transatlantic solidarity.”

However, she said that the war has not erased all other challenges facing the two countries.

One of the big issues is France’s concern about Biden’s infrastructure and climate bill.

French officials have raised concerns about Biden’s “Made in America” ​​Electric Vehicle Terms, which French leaders say could put European carmakers at a disadvantage. And Macron has warned Europe may have to take retaliatory action, including subsidizing European companies.

Martin Quencez, deputy director of the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund, said that if the Biden administration is to commit as it has told the coalition around the world, it needs to consider the impact of domestic political policies on domestic politics. with the same allies.

“The economic measures taken by the Biden administration make perfect sense from an American perspective at home,” Quencez said. “But if it’s harmful then this has to be discussed and this is something that needs to be reconciled by the Biden administration, you want stronger allies. You can’t really harm them by imposing this on one thing. unilaterally.”


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