Macron arrives at the White House for the Biden administration’s first state visit


US President Joe Biden takes part in a flurry of events as part of his first state visit since taking office, welcoming the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, on Thursday.

The Macrons’ trip to the White House marks their second time as guests of honor on a state visit, having first done so under Donald Trump’s administration in 2018. The order Thursday’s day is filled with official fanfare, with a list of events that should underscore the strength of the critical relationship between the United States and its oldest ally.

The Macrons arrived at the White House for a formal arrival ceremony on Thursday morning.

The Elysée announced Thursday morning that Macron had given the president four gifts: a vinyl and a CD of the soundtrack of the film that the first couple saw on their first date – “Un Homme et une Femme”, a mug from Christofle symbolizing the links between France and the United States, a sweater from Maison Saint James and a watch from LIP Horlogerie. He also gave the first lady a copy of “Madame Bovary” and “The Plague, the Fall, Exile and the Kingdom, and Selected Essays”, by Albert Camus. He gave Vice President Kamala Harris a model of the Ariane 5 rocket.

The Macrons’ return for another state visit also follows a spectacular rebound in American-French relations compared to just a year ago, when Macron took the extraordinary step of recalling his ambassador from Washington over a US-Australia submarine deal that blindsided the French and cost them a defense contract of several billion dollars. The riff appears to be largely behind them, and Biden and Macron have deepened their bond further over the past year in their united efforts to fight Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“Throughout all of these events, you can expect to see both our long shared history as allies, as well as our deep partnership…on today’s and tomorrow’s most pressing global challenges” said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. told reporters on Monday. “While there are specific areas where we plan to make progress during this visit, I want to emphasize that this visit is in large part to celebrate the strength of this relationship: a relationship that is firmly rooted in our history, from the very beginning of our country, while looking resolutely to the future – and it is a very dynamic and exciting future that we look forward to.

Most of the events surrounding Macron’s state visit take place on Thursday.

After the official arrival ceremony at the White House, Biden and Macron will hold bilateral talks. The two leaders are expected to address a number of issues, including topics of mutual interest – such as Ukraine, Iran and China, before taking part in a joint press conference.

“I fully expect, to a greater extent here, that the China issue will be very high on the agenda over the next two days with President Macron here,” Kirby told reporters Wednesday. .

U.S. and French officials do not expect the visit to produce major deliverables, but both sides see it as an opportunity for the two countries to deepen their partnership on a host of global challenges. The two sides will also take forward the working group discussions that were launched following last year’s submarine affair to intensify cooperation on space, cyberspace and security issues. energy.

Still, there are points of disagreement that should arise.

One of the main points of tension will be over the billions of dollars in electric vehicle subsidies included in the Cut Inflation Act, which only applies to those made in North America. Macron criticized the measure as protectionist and French officials said he intended to raise the issue in meetings with Biden and congressional leaders.

On Thursday, Jill Biden and Brigitte Macron are also scheduled to visit Planet Word, a language-focused museum in Washington. A French official also said President Macron is expected to attend a lunch at the US State Department and meet with a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers.

Thursday evening, the Macron will be back at the White House for the Biden administration’s first state dinner. French guests include director Claude Lelouch, Louvre museum director Laurence des Cars and LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, according to the French official.

The White House did not disclose who it invited to attend Thursday night’s lavish dinner, but said in a preview that New Orleans native Jon Batiste will perform musical selections.

On Wednesday, Harris hosted President Macron at NASA to celebrate the two nations’ cooperation in space. The first family also hosted a private dinner with the Macrons ahead of Thursday’s official state dinner.

On the final leg of their visit to the United States, the Macrons will travel to New Orleans on Friday to highlight new efforts to expand French education in the United States.

This story and title have been updated with additional developments.

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