x

Politics

Macron is Hosting Biden for a State Visit as the Two Leaders Try to Move Past Trade Tensions

PARIS (AP) — President Joe Biden is being feted by French President Emmanuel Macron with a state visit Saturday as the two allies aim to show off their partnership on global security issues and move past trade tensions.

Biden and Macron attended ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Thursday and met separately the following day with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris. The leaders both used those engagements used to underscore the urgent need to support Kyiv’s fight against Russia’s invasion.

But Macron and Biden have often chafed at the pace of support for Ukraine, especially as the United States, by far the largest contributor to Kyiv’s defense, was forced to pause aid shipments for months while congressional Republicans held up an assistance package.

U.S. First Lady Jill, Biden, U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron walk by the tomb of the Unknown soldier during a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, Saturday, June 8, 2024 in Paris. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The state visit began with a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, including a wreath-laying at France’s tomb of the unknown soldier, and a military parade along the Champs-Élysées leading to the Élysée Palace, where the two will hold official meetings and deliver public statements. Later, there is a state dinner at the palace for Biden and his wife, Jill.

Biden hosted Macron in December 2022 at the White House for the first state visit of his presidency as the COVID-19 pandemic receded.

Jill Biden flew back to Paris aboard a U.S. government plane after spending Friday in Delaware to support their son, Hunter Biden, who is standing trial on federal gun charges.

As the president’s trip draws to a close, the far right is likely to emerge as one of the biggest winners in Sunday’s European Parliament election while Macron’s pro-European Union movement is flagging.

A top French official said Macron and Biden have a friendly and warm relationship and stressed that the U.S. president is spending five days in France, reflecting the importance he attaches to the visit. The official spoke anonymously, in line with customary practices for Macron’s office.

The official said the U.S. presidential campaign was not a factor in the discussion.

French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden rekindle the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier during a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, Saturday June 8, 2024 in Paris. President Joe Biden is being feted by French President Emmanuel Macron with a state visit Saturday, as the two allies aim to show off their partnership on global security issues and move past trade tensions. (Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)

Macron hosted then-President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee this year, for Bastille Day in 2017, and he came to Washington for a state visit in 2018 before their relationship soured.

U.S. and French officials said Ukraine would be at the top of Saturday’s agenda, but the centerpiece of the weekend event would be the strength of the alliance, fortified at Normandy 80 years ago, but with roots far deeper.

“It’s probably a good thing for us to remember that we didn’t win our independence either without some foreign help or foreign assistance, specifically from France,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Friday.

Max Bergmann, a former U.S. State Department official who leads Europe research at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the U.S.-French relationship is strong despite occasional disagreements.

“There’s always tension in Franco-American relations because the French try to do stuff,” he said. “They’re bold, they throw up proposals, and that leads to some friction when we push back.”

For example, he said, France proposed putting Western trainers on the ground in Ukraine, leading to questions of whether this is “really giving Ukraine a major, tangible benefit” or has the “potential to be escalatory and dangerous.”

Regarding Macron, Bergmann said, “he’s the one that pushes the boundaries and throws up ideas.”

Kirby said the two leaders would have an announcement Saturday on deepening maritime law enforcement cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. They also were to discuss economic and climate challenges.

While praising the Biden administration’s commitment to supporting Ukraine, Macron said earlier this year that Europe must become “capable of defending its interests, with its allies by our side whenever they are willing, and alone if necessary,” arguing the continent should rely less on the U.S. for its own defense.

He also warned Western powers against showing any signs of weakness to Russia as he repeatedly said that sending Western troops into Ukraine to shore up its defense should not be ruled out.

The leaders were also set to discuss their efforts to bring about a cease-fire to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, as the U.S. and Israel await Hamas’ response to a Biden-promoted cease-fire proposal that would allow a surge of humanitarian assistance into the territory.

Macron is expected to raise U.S. trade practices that he has often criticized, including the Inflation Reduction Act, which favors American-made climate technology such as electric vehicles. Macron said the U.S., like China, has “decided not to respect the rules of global trade” by shoring up protections and subsidies while Europe’s industry remains open and is stuck in overregulation.

The French official said Europe has to defend European interests, after watching the U.S. do the same with its own, but said Macron hopes to find a mutually acceptable outcome.

Gary Hufbauer, nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said trade with China is a sticking point between the U.S. and Europe, particularly France. The U.S. has been more eager to restrict trade, particularly regarding technology.

Biden is also moving toward tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and batteries, which could affect European cars that include Chinese parts.

Overall, Hufbauer said, “Europe wants to maintain much more trade with China than the U.S. wants.”


By CHRIS MEGERIAN, ZEKE MILLER and SYLVIE CORBET Associated Press

RELATED

WASHINGTON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

It’s Not as World-Famous as Ramen or Sushi. But the Humble Onigiri is Soul Food in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — The word “onigiri” became part of the Oxford English Dictionary this year, proof that the humble sticky-rice ball and mainstay of Japanese food has entered the global lexicon.

NEW JERSEY – The Hellenic Federation of New Jersey held its 11th Annual Awards Gala on June 23 at the Greek-owned catering hall The Graycliff.

LEIPZIG, Germany  — Italy substitute Mattia Zaccagni scored in the last minute of stoppage time for Italy to advance to the knockout stage of the European Championship after drawing Croatia 1-1 on Monday.

DUESSELDORF, Germany  — Spain changed almost its entire lineup and still kept up its victorious start to the European Championship with a 1-0 win over Albania, which was eliminated on Monday.

ATHENS, Greece  — Greece on Monday accused neighboring North Macedonia’s new center-right government of breaking a historic deal on the country’s name, warning that this could harm its hopes of one day joining the European Union.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.