U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House to celebrate 200 years of U.S.-French relations, Reuters reports.
Biden is hosting Macron on his first state visit since he took office in early 2021. Biden and his wife, Jill, greeted Macron and his wife, Brigitte, with hugs, kisses and wide smiles.
The two couples, who unofficially dined together Wednesday, took part in a ceremony on the South Lawn attended by an honorary military guard, a colonial band in red Fife and Drum Corps jackets.
Biden welcomed France as "our oldest ally, our unwavering partner in freedom's cause." Both leaders hailed their countries' alliance against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"France and the United States are facing down Vladimir Putin's grasping ambition for conquest, and Russia's brutal war against Ukraine, which has once more shattered peace on the continent of Europe," Mr. Biden said.
"France and the United States are once again defending the democratic values and universal human rights which are the heart of both our nations."
Macron said the two countries must once again become brothers in arms and share the responsibility of defending democracies on both sides of the ocean.
Biden and Macron smiled as they exchanged remarks and looked at ease with each other. Before the talks, they said they would discuss high-tech trade and the indirect impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the economy.
Macron arrived in Washington on Tuesday for his second state visit to the United States since taking office in 2017.
A glittering state dinner was planned, with 200 lobsters from Maine delivered for the occasion.
Among Macron's gifts to his American counterpart were a vinyl record and a CD of the original soundtrack to Claude Lelouch's 1966 film "Man and Woman," which the Bidens went to see on their first date.
The Bidens presented Macron with a custom-made mirror made from a fallen tree from the White House grounds and a collection of vinyl records of great American musicians.
Macron is expected to raise French and European concerns about subsidies in the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which offers huge subsidies for goods made in the United States and aims to address the climate crisis. European leaders say the legislative package signed by Biden in August is unfair to non-U.S. companies and would deal a serious blow to their economies.
In a meeting with U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, Macron said the act was "super-aggressive" toward European companies. Also at a meeting with the French community in Washington, Macron said the price of the war in Ukraine was much higher in Europe than in the United States, and that Europe risks falling behind if subsidies pump in new investment. According to him, this could "fragment the West."
There is no indication that Biden was willing to make concessions. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the law "presents significant opportunities for European firms as well as benefits to EU energy security"