At a meeting in Rome with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, US President Joe Biden acknowledged that his country’s actions on concluding a submarine deal and defense pact with Britain and Australia were “clumsy and unfashionable.” Thus, the French lost a deal with Australia to sell submarines for tens of billions of euros.
During the meeting in Italy, the two leaders signed a statement in which they pledged to cooperate intensively in many (defense) areas, including the nuclear field in the context of NATO. The two allies agreed, among other things, to develop a joint strategy for the defense market and the export of military equipment. More cooperation is also the goal in space.
Not only was the French government outraged by the loss of the submarine deal, but it also felt deceived and betrayed by the Americans, Australians, and British. The new alliance called AUKUS has long been negotiated in the strictest secrecy. The Americans and British would assist the Australians with nuclear submarines within that alliance, but Paris stayed out completely outside this alliance. Riots broke out in September. The meeting in Rome was the first between the leaders of France and the United States since then.
The US president said he believed Macron had known about it for a long time. He said he had “great affection for France, a country which is the United States’ oldest ally”. But Macron then commented bitterly: “This is the beginning of a process of confidence.” And trust, according to Macron, “is like love, statements are good, but actions are better.” Biden wanted to restore the relationship for the G20 summit in Rome that begins on Saturday and the climate conference in Glasgow the next day.
Biden held a series of talks before the summit on Friday. First, the second Roman Catholic president of the United States spoke with the Pope. The conversation lasted remarkably long, an hour and a quarter, and Pope Francis is said to have described his guest as a good Catholic. Some Roman Catholics in the United States accuse Biden of not being an opponent of abortion. Biden described his interlocutor as a fighter for peace.
Biden then drove his presidential limousine with 83 other cars to salute protocol for Italian President Sergio Mattarella. The convoy then headed to Chigi Palace where it was received by the Prime Minister of the southern European country, Mario Draghi. The main topics for discussion are the climate crisis and the fight against the coronavirus.
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