President Joe Biden and his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, presented a united front at the White House on Thursday morning despite recently frayed ties between the longtime allies amid disputes over economic and national security issues.
“Stalwart friends in times of triumph and of trial, France and the United States will meet the future just as we always have, confident in our shared capacity, sustained by the strength of our shared values and undaunted by any challenge that lies ahead,” Biden said during a welcoming ceremony at the White House for Macron and his wife.
Macron’s arrival marks the first state visit of Biden’s administration, coming at a time when the United States and France — one of its oldest allies — face simmering tensions over issues plaguing the world, including Russia’s war in Ukraine and trade policies.
Macron during the pair’s bilateral meeting later Thursday is expected to press Biden on the economic impacts of the now 10-month-long war in Ukraine — which has not only battered the global economy but also fueled an energy crisis in Europe. The French president and a number of other European leaders have recently shown some resistance to an expansion of the war and its inevitable economic toll on the continent.
Macron has also openly accused the U.S. of using protectionist policies, with trade issues expected to be a main topic of his and Biden’s bilateral meeting. The French president has specifically bristled against tax incentives for clean energy included in the Inflation Reduction Act — a move that European leaders fear could cause sectors of their own economies to shift operations to the United States.
But during the ceremony on Thursday morning, both Biden and Macron largely expressed dedication to a united partnership between the two countries and to working together to solve global issues such as world hunger and climate change.
“It is our shared destiny to respond to those challenges together, true to our history … determined to generate hope,” Macron said. “Long live the friendship between the United States and France.”
Following the pomp-filled welcome ceremony, Biden and Macron entered the White House for their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office. The two will host a press conference later in the morning, and the Bidens will host the Macrons for a state dinner Thursday evening.