Against grand backdrop, Biden and Macron pledge cooperation on Ukraine, energy investment 

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


In his visit to the United States Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron received the sort of gaudy, overstated royal welcome that would have made King Louis the 16th blush in the 1700s. He then appeared to receive meaningful concessions and agreements from President Joe Biden on economic and Russian matters.

One would have hardly known the United States faces record inflation as Macron was treated to a dinner featuring 200 lobsters flown in from Maine and chardonnay from Napa Valley, as well as an audience with not only Biden, but the likes of outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Grammy-winning New Orleans-based singer-songwriter Jon Batiste, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and singer John Legend.

Invest in American … and European … production

In the midst of the feting, Macron and Biden also managed to make announcements that, while certainly easy to lose among the garishness, speak to the amount of acquiescence the Biden administration is willing to offer for continued support from Europe.

During a joint press conference, Biden indicated he would work to address the concerns of European nations that believe recent U.S. climate legislation, specifically initiatives found in the Inflation Reduction Act, will harm their economies.

In particular, the European nations have bristled over exceptions to the new law that have been afforded to U.S.-based companies but not European nations who export to America.

“No, look, the United States makes no apology — and I make no apologies, since I wrote it … but there are occasions when you write a massive piece of legislation — and that has almost $368 billion dollars for the largest investment in climate change on all … of history,” Biden said. “And so, there’s obviously going to be glitches in it and need to reconcile changes in it.”

Biden later added, “But the essence of it is: We’re going to make sure that the United States continues — and just as I hope Europe will be able to continue — not to have to rely on anybody else’s supply chain.”

As reported by Reuters, Macron had previously called Biden’s legislation “super aggressive,” but Thursday he stated that he saw a way forward.

“This morning, we … had an excellent discussion on the IRA and the recent pieces of legislation adopted by the American administration,” Macron said through an interpreter. “And like President Biden just said, we agreed to resynchronize our approaches, our agendas in order to invest in critical emerging industries — semiconductors, batteries, hydrogen, everything that is absolutely decisive — because, as a matter of fact, we share the same vision and the same willingness.”

By all indications, Biden plans to assuage European concerns and fix the glitches he referred to through a series of executive orders that will grant exceptions to European nations similar to those afforded to American entities. In other words, Biden’s supposed “America-first” investment in production now includes European companies as well.

“[There are] tweaks that we can make that can fundamentally make it easier for European countries to participate and/or be on their own,” Biden said. “But that is something that is a matter to be worked out.”

Keeping blank checks flowing to Ukraine

On the matter of Ukraine, the two world leaders expressed unilateral agreement in terms of continuing to pour billions into the Ukrainian war effort. The only difference of opinion was slight.

Macron, who has made headlines by meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he intended to remain in contact with the Kremlin while Biden was somewhat more cautious.

“Let me choose my words very carefully,” Biden said. “I’m prepared to speak with Mr. Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war. He hasn’t done that yet.”

Biden’s remarks represent a shift in his stance. He has previously expressed a hesitance to meet with Putin at all, and has always insisted that any meeting would also have to include a voice from Ukrainian leadership.

Macron is expected to visit Louisiana Friday, where he will meet with Gov. John Bel Edwards and sign a memorandum of understanding on climate change.