Biden to welcome French President Macron to the White House for his first state visit


President Joe Biden will hold his first state visit to the White House for French President Emmanuel Macron on December 1, the White House has confirmed, marking the return of a tradition not seen since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We would like to announce that President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Biden will host President Emmanuel Macron and Mrs. Brigitte Macron of France for a State Visit to the United States on December 1, 2022. This will be the first visit by ‘State. of the Biden-Harris administration,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during Monday’s press briefing.

The state visit, which will include a state dinner, « will underscore the deep and enduring relationship between the United States and France – our oldest ally, » Jean-Pierre said.

“Our close relationship with France is based on our common democratic values, our economic ties and our cooperation in defense and security. Leaders will discuss our close and continued partnership on shared global challenges and areas of bilateral interest,” she added.

Biden is hosting his first state dinner more than halfway through his term – later than previous US presidents. Jean-Pierre acknowledged on Monday that « Covid has certainly delayed many in-person events that a president traditionally hosts at the White House, » but pointed to previous visits to the White House by world leaders earlier in Biden’s term.

The tradition of the state visit to the White House — which is usually a multi-day affair that involves official ceremonies, meetings and a lavish black-tie dinner — has dwindled.

The Trumps hosted the Macrons for their administration’s first state dinner in 2018. Their second and final state visit was in 2019, when the White House hosted then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison . The Trumps were also scheduled to host the King and Queen of Spain in 2020 – an event that has been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.

Macron and Biden have spoken several times since Biden took office in January 2021. Most recently, they met last week in New York as world leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly. The two men discussed the ongoing war in Ukraine, Iran, the Indo-Pacific and the challenges posed by China, according to the White House.

Biden and Macron held their first formal meeting in June 2021 at the G7 summit in England, parting ways after relaying that they were on the same page. Macron praised Biden as « part of the club » following a more strained relationship with former US President Donald Trump.

Macron, now in his second term, has become the leading voice in defense of the European Union. Since the heated G7 meeting, a number of global challenges have emerged, preparing Macron to stand out on the world stage.

A failed deal for France to produce nuclear-powered submarines for Australia has caused a major international rift.

In September 2021, the French government recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for consultation in response to an announced national security partnership that would supply United States-produced submarines to Australia – abandoning an existing agreement of 90 billion dollars with France to provide their submarines to the country.

Later that fall, Biden admitted his administration had been « clumsy » in its handling of the deal, saying he « felt like France was told long before the deal didn’t materialize. » . And earlier this summer, France’s defense minister said the country was aiming to rebuild its relationship with Australia.

Western leaders, including Biden and Macron, have largely united in opposition to fight Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine.

France has also been a key player in negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Pressed on Monday whether the decision to host France was to mend ties after a few rifts earlier in Biden’s tenure, Jean-Pierre replied, “We deeply value our relationship with France. … We work closely with France on the full range of global challenges, as you all know, including the war in Ukraine. It is for these reasons that the President and First Lady felt it was important to welcome this close and valued partner to the White House for their first state visit.

This story has been updated with additional reports.

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