French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden stand together onstage during an official State Arrival Ceremony for President Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2022.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
Standing beside U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House, French President Emmanuel Macron said the two democratic nations must once again become “brothers in arms” amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Macron made the comments during the welcoming ceremony Thursday of Biden’s first state visit. He and Macron are holding a joint press conference at 11:45 a.m. ET, followed by a state dinner later in the evening. The president chose to host France in honor of its status as the U.S.’s oldest ally.
Both leaders stressed the importance of maintaining a close alliance at this uncertain time.
“As war returns to European soil following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and in light of the multiple crises our nations and all societies face, we need to become brothers in arms once more,” Macron said.
Beyond military aggression, Macron said the alliance must remain strong as democracy itself is being questioned around the world.
“Our democracies on both sides of the ocean are being shaken by the same doubts as to our ability to be sufficiently strong and effective when it comes to the challenges we share of climate to politics to technology,” Macron said. “They’re in doubt in the face of reluctance, hate speech, false information and today’s fears.”
Macron’s remarks echoed those of Biden who spoke first. Biden too highlighted the strength of the alliance as Russia invades Ukraine which he said “has once more shattered peace on the continent of Europe.”
Citing France’s assistance to the United States during the Revolutionary War, Biden said the countries’ commitment to democracy was essential.
“France and the United States are once again defending the democratic values and universal human rights which are the hearts of both our nations,” Biden said. “We are proving to people around the world that democracies deliver from our joint leadership.”
Despite the talk of friendship and need to jointly address climate change, Macron has been critical of climate provisions in Biden’s signature Inflation Reduction Act. Macron criticized the law at a luncheon on Wednesday and in a speech at the French Embassy.
European leaders, Macron said, worry the vast tax incentives would drive companies from Europe to the U.S. to create climate-friendly technology like electric vehicles.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which became law in August, allocated $369 billion toward addressing climate change through clean energy initiatives. The majority of the investment, around $270 billion, is through direct tax incentives.
Macron on Wednesday said the new law will make companies in the U.S. think, “We don’t make investments any more on the other side of the Atlantic.”