Friends with differences, but with the need to show themselves as good allies to face Russia and Vladimir Putin. This is how you could describe the meeting between Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron in washington. The presidents of the US and France have staged harmony and unity, but the French president has not missed the opportunity to show the discrepancies between the two countries since last year.
Biden received Macron this Thursday with the highest honors, as the first foreign leader to whom the Democrat honors with a state visit since he came to power in January 2021. Both have posed in the White House gardens and in their first statements to the media the main reason for the visit already appeared.
“France and the United States are confronting the conquest ambitions of Vladimir Putin and his brutal war against Ukraine, which has once again shattered the peace of the European continent”, Biden has highlighted. For his part, Macron has defended that it is essential that Washington and Paris become twinned again “in his fight for freedom.” “This common history also forces us to face the return of the war on European soil after the Russian aggression. (…) We must once again know how to be brothers in arms,” he said.
Already inside the Oval Office, the French president has advocated finding a way to build a “lasting peace” and to maintain close cooperation to fix the “direct and indirect consequences of the war”, which especially impact Europe.
And there came the opportunity for Macron to throw a taunt at his colleague. The French president asked better “synchronize” US and French trade actionssince Biden’s economic plan to combat inflation and the climate crisis includes tax incentives to promote American companies, which could harm the green sector in Europe.
Already the day before, Macron had stressed that these incentives are very “aggressive” and that run the risk of “fragmenting” the West by causing big differences between the US and Europe.
The war in Ukraine has made Biden and Macron strengthen your relationship. The meeting was also intended to turn the page on the stage of tensions last year, when the US and the UK signed an agreement to help Australia develop nuclear submarines. This caused Paris to lose a lucrative deal with Canberra and to temporarily withdraw its ambassador from Washington.
A French astronaut on the Moon
Macron has also taken advantage of his visit to the US to demand that NASA appoint French astronaut Thomas Pesquet to join the US team on the Artemis II mission and thus become the first European to set foot on the Moon.
In a joint press conference with the US Vice President, Kamala Harris, after the French president’s visit to NASA headquarters, Macron said with a laugh: “I have a candidate for you to fly to the Moon. And Thomas is very excited and very excited to be a part of this.”
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in June that three European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts will accompany NASA on the mission that will send people back to Earth’s satellite for the first time. since 1972. NASA has already detailed that the earliest possible date to land on the lunar surface is the year 2025.