In the run-up to the G20 summit in Rome, US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron met on Friday. Topics: very serious. Scenes: funny and almost inquisitive.
The meeting in Rome focused on the September submarine dispute between the USA, Australia and France. On this topic, conciliatory tones were struck.
“What we did was embarrassing,” Biden admitted Friday at the meeting at the French Embassy in the Holy See. “Not done with a lot of elegance.”
Biden and Macron also clumsily lined up. The two heads of state were literally in close contact: at the reception, the presidential duo were visibly close, hugged, and Macron clumsily grabbed Biden’s hand and stared into the camera.
At the subsequent press conference, it continued like this: There’s a pat, the frown is pulled, and when the two want to shake hands, they don’t seem to really manage it. They both look at each other a little puzzled, clumsily, stretching one hand over the other’s hand until they finally shake hands with a smile.
Biden: “France is a very important partner”
Biden said after the meeting that he had the impression that France had been informed before the new submarine deal was announced. Because of the new alliance, which was announced without consulting, France lost an arms contract worth billions. “I want to be very clear: France is a very important partner,” Biden stressed.
What is important now, Macron said, is to ensure that there is no such misunderstanding in the future. Macron said it was now a question of creating stronger cooperation with the United States. It was previously said from the Elysee Palace that the meeting was aimed at “restoring confidence”.
The spat between NATO partners came when the United States announced a new South Pacific security alliance with Great Britain and Australia in September. Accordingly, Australia should be given access to US technology to build and operate nuclear submarines.
This means that France has lost a diesel submarine company worth billions of dollars to Australia. This led to angry reactions in Paris and raised doubts about the credibility of the Transatlantic Partnership. As a result, France withdrew its ambassadors from the partner countries for some time.