The first state visit of Joe Biden’s administration, by French President Emmanuel Macron, revives diplomatic pomp that had been put on hiatus because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Biden-Macron friendship had a rocky start.
After the White House announced an agreement to sell nuclear submarines to Australia, Macron momentarily withdrew France’s ambassador to the US.
However, Macron has become one of Biden’s most forward-thinking European partners in the Western reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This week’s visit, which will include Oval Office meetings, a fancy supper, a press conference, and more, is crucial for both presidents.
U.S. and French officials said the leaders will discuss Iran’s nuclear programme, China’s rising aggressiveness in the Indo-Pacific, and security and stability in Africa’s Sahel region during their Thursday White House meeting.
Biden and Macron will discuss Russia’s conflict in Ukraine in the Oval Office as they try to keep Kyiv’s economic and military assistance.
Republicans will assume control of the House in Washington, where GOP leader Kevin McCarthy says they won’t issue a “blank check” for Ukraine.
Over the Atlantic, Macron’s efforts to unite Europe will be hampered by the rising costs of helping Ukraine through its nine-month conflict and by rising energy prices that could slow the economy’s recovery after the pandemic.