KRANJ, Slovenia – Emmanuel Macron still isn’t sure if Joe Biden will get it or that the age-old alliance between France and the US is back on track.
Less than three weeks since the US president surprised his French counterpart by announcing a new strategic alliance for the Indo-Pacific with Australia and Great Britain, Washington is still fighting to repair the diplomatic damage. And when Macron arrived in Slovenia on Tuesday evening for a meeting of EU leaders to discuss what is known as strategic autonomy, it was clear that he was still upset and still insisting that the White House should not repent demonstrated with just words.
When asked by POLITICO whether he was now confident that Biden recognized the importance of France as an ally, Macron replied tersely in English: “We will see.”
“I only believe in facts,” Macron continued. “I hope. I think it’s doable. I think it’s more productive for both of us. I’ll see. And I think we have planned to discuss together in mid-October, we will catch up during the G20 and I think it will be the right opportunity to see how we can actually start again. ”
Exactly this urge for stronger European military integration and security cooperation was at the top of the agenda of the heads of state and government at their dinner in Slovenia on Tuesday evening.
Macron called the French ambassador back from Washington and then refused for days to accept Biden’s call after the surprise announcement of the Indo-Pacific alliance known as AUKUS, which also resulted in France winning a € 50 billion contract to build submarines for Australia lost. When the two men finally spoke, Biden attempted to smooth the blast by making a joint statement admitting that the United States should not have left France in the dark, realizing “the importance of a stronger and more capable European” in defense. “
Some EU officials and diplomats have warned that Macron is endangering transatlantic relations by turning the Paris-Washington rift into a tension between the US and the EU as a whole. In solidarity with France, the heads of state and government of the EU quickly accused Biden of “infidelity” in not consulting Paris or Brussels on the Indo-Pacific partnership.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Paris this week to improve relations and Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will visit the French capital on Friday after attending meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels the previous day.
Macron dramatically emphasized that he was the last of the EU leaders to reach the summit, a conference center near Brdo Castle. And he said he would judge the state of the US-French relationship by Biden’s actions, not by his words.
“My point is,” said Macron, “it’s not about words or perceptions. It’s about facts and what needs to be done together. ”