SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

Biden to host Macron for a state visit at the White House

President Joe Biden will host his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron at the White House on December 1st for the first full-scale state visit of his administration, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday.

Biden to host Macron for a state visit at the White House
US President Joe Biden (L) talks with France's President Emmanuel Macron (R) ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels on March 24, 2022. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

The visit will “underscore the deep and enduring relationship between the United States and France, our oldest ally,” Jean-Pierre told reporters at the White House.

State visits, which feature more pomp and ceremony than the frequent bilateral meetings hosted by US presidents for foreign leaders, have not taken place so far during Biden’s presidency, which Jean-Pierre attributed to Covid pandemic restrictions.

Asked why Macron had been chosen for the honor ahead of other US allies, Jean-Pierre said “we deeply value our relationship with France.”

The link between the two countries is “founded on shared democratic values, economic ties, and defense and security cooperation,” she said.

Relations between Paris and Washington hit a major crisis last year when Australia abruptly announced it was ditching a contract to buy conventional French submarines in favor of a US nuclear-powered submarine deal.

The US-Australia deal was part of the newly launched AUKUS security partnership, also including Britain, which Washington sees as part of its strategy to contain China in the Asia-Pacific region.

The French government, however, was furious, accusing Australia of “lying” and recalling its ambassadors both to Canberra and Washington.

However, tensions have since smoothed over, with Macron emerging as a key European partner for Biden in the response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the unprecedented Western effort to help Ukrainian troops.

A source in the French presidency said the visit, culminating with a state dinner, will “underline the deep and enduring relations,” including on “close cooperation in defense and security areas.”

Biden and Macron met most recently at the United Nations General Assembly last week in New York and have also had “multiple conversations” over the last year and a half, Jean-Pierre said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

POLITICS

Macron calls for stricter Twitter controls on Covid disinformation

French President Emmanuel Macron criticised Twitter's new boss Elon Musk on Thursday, saying the entrepreneur was wrong to drop the fight against Covid disinformation as he slashes back content moderation on the platform.

Macron calls for stricter Twitter controls on Covid disinformation

With his country facing a fresh surge in coronavirus infections, Macron said the subject of misleading Covid information should be addressed head on, not swept under the rug.

“I think this is a big issue,” Macron, on a state visit to the United States, told broadcaster ABC. “What I push very much, for one, is exactly the opposite: more regulation.”

He said such protections have been implemented and enforced in France and “at the European level.”

Freedom of expression remains paramount, Macron insisted, “but there is responsibilities and limits” to what can be written and disseminated.

“You cannot go into the streets and have a racist speech or anti-Semitic speech,” the French leader said. “You cannot put at risk the life of somebody else. Violence is never legitimate in democracy.”

Macron’s concept of freedom of expression within acceptable limits is far from the libertarian approach of Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist” who has sacked many of the Twitter employees tasked with content moderation.

Musk has begun to allow Twitter users banned from the platform for posting disinformation, such as former US president Donald Trump, to return.

And it emerged this week that Twitter has stopped enforcing a rule preventing users from sharing misleading information about Covid-19 and vaccine effectiveness.

The billionaire Musk has made no secret of his fierce opposition to health restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic, especially when they meant the temporary shuttering of his Tesla electric vehicle factory in California.

“To say that they can not leave their house and they will be arrested if they do… this is fascist. This is not democratic, this is not freedom,” Musk raged in April 2020 on a conference call with analysts.

On Wednesday the European Union issued a sharp warning to Musk, saying he must do “significantly” more to fight disinformation, such as reinforcement of content moderation, in order to comply with EU law.

“There is still huge work ahead” for Twitter, said Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner for the internal market.

SHOW COMMENTS