President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron depart after eating dinner at Fiola Mare in Washington on Nov 30, 2022. (ANDREW HARNIK / AP)=
WASHINGTON – French President Emmanuel Macron addressed US lawmakers from both political parties on Wednesday and pushed back over new American subsidies that are riling European leaders, according to a participant in a closed-door meeting.
Macron arrived in Washington on Tuesday for his second state visit to the United States since taking office in 2017, ahead of which French officials said he would confront President Joe Biden over the subsidies contained in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
European leaders have complained about the legislative package over the Inflation Reduction Act, signed by US President Joe Biden in August, that offers massive subsidies for US-made products, which they say unfairly disadvantages non-American companies and would be a serious blow to their economies
Biden and Macron, joined by their wives Jill and Brigitte, took an early opportunity to get together ahead of their formal talks on Thursday. They rode in the US presidential motorcade a short distance from the White House to the historic area of Georgetown and dined at Fiola Mare, an Italian restaurant.
In a meeting with US lawmakers at the Library of Congress, Macron said the Inflation Reduction Act was "super aggressive" toward European companies, one participant told Reuters. The participant requested anonymity to discuss a private part of the meeting.
Macron's office declined to confirm the comment, which was first reported by Agence France-Presse.
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European leaders have complained about the legislative package, signed by Biden in August, that offers massive subsidies for US-made products, which they say unfairly disadvantages non-American companies and would be a serious blow to their economies.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the legislation "presents significant opportunities for European firms as well as benefits to EU energy security," when asked about European concerns.
The IRA has provisions that will contribute to the growth of the clean energy sector globally, she added.
In introductory remarks at the Library of Congress with reporters present, Macron said France and the United States should join forces to reform the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank so their funds can be directed to countries hit by climate change.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia on Nov 30, 2022. (CAROLYN KASTER / AP)
After Republicans won the House of Representatives in Novmeber's mid-term elections, French President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to reach out to both parties was a recognition he must look beyond Biden, a Democrat, to advance cooperation with Washington, French official say
After Republicans won the House of Representatives in this month's mid-term elections, Macron's efforts to reach out to both parties was a recognition he must look beyond Biden, a Democrat, to advance cooperation with Washington, French official say.
ALSO READ: France recalls envoys from US and Australia over sub deal
Macron is the first foreign leader to be given a state dinner at the Biden White House, a sign of his importance to Washington despite some differences with the Biden administration. The formal dinner on Thursday will feature music from Jon Batiste, Chardonnay from the Napa Valley and cheddar cheese from a family-run creamery in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, according to details provided by the office of first lady Jill Biden.
Earlier, Macron visited NASA headquarters with Vice-President Kamala Harris, and said US-French cooperation was important to counter the risk of conflict in space. The two announced new US-French cooperation on space during a meeting in Paris a year ago.
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Macron said space represents "a new place of conflict" and that it was important for France and the United States to work together on setting rules and norms because they share a commitment to science as well as democratic values.