Biden has convinced allies 'America is back,' says France's Macron

Biden has convinced allies 'America is back,' says France's Macron
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French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronUS athletes chant 'Dr. Biden' as first lady cheers swimmers Jill Biden watches Olympic basketball with France's Macron Jill Biden attends Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony MORE told reporters Saturday that President BidenJoe BidenTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Republicans focus tax hike opposition on capital gains change Biden on hecklers: 'This is not a Trump rally. Let 'em holler' MORE has “definitely” convinced allies that “America is back” as a cooperating partner on the global stage as the two leaders met on the sidelines of a Group of Seven (G-7) summit.

Macron used brief comments to the press to commend Biden’s leadership and said his willingness to cooperate would enable allies to tackle global challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

“For all these issues, what we need is cooperation, and I think it’s great to have the U.S. president part of the club and willing to cooperate, and I think that what you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership,” Macron said. 

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“I’ve said before, we’re back. The U.S. is back,” Biden replied. “We feel very, very strongly about the cohesion of NATO, and I for one think that the European Union is an incredibly strong and vibrant entity that has a lot to do with the ability of western Europe to not only handle its economic issues but provide the backbone and support for NATO.”

When a reporter asked Biden if he has indeed convinced allies that “America is back,” he directed the reporter to ask the question of Macron.

“Definitely,” Macron replied.

The genial nature of the meeting stood in contrast to awkward and at times contentious engagements between Macron and former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE, who clashed with European leaders over his “America first” foreign policy and unilateral actions on trade and other issues.

Trump and Macron famously sparred over the direction of NATO during a summit of the alliance at the end of 2019.

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Saturday’s bilateral meeting represented the first formal meeting between Biden and Macron since the American president took office, though the two spoke informally during the events on Friday. 

In a subsequent readout, the White House said that Biden and Macron agreed to deepen ties between the U.S. and France during their bilateral meeting Saturday. They discussed cooperation on the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change and “reaffirmed their commitment to reform the international tax system to address some of the inequities created by globalization,” the White House said.

They also discussed efforts to “strengthen and modernize NATO,” counterterrorism cooperation, China, and Russia, according to the readout.

Biden went into the G-7 summit in Cornwall, England, the first stop on his first trip abroad as president, hoping to reaffirm and strengthen partnerships with European and Asian allies, particularly in the face of a rising China and increasingly hostile Russia. 

While Biden's public engagements with Macron and other leaders have been friendly, European officials nevertheless remain wary of U.S. reliability, given that U.S. foreign policy could shift again depending on who is elected in 2024. Most of the three-day program is happening out of sight of the public.

Biden is expected to have some tough conversations with allies behind the scenes about his effort to create a unified approach to confronting and competing with China. 

Biden pressed G-7 leaders to call out China’s forced labor practices during a session on Saturday, U.S. officials said.

After the G-7 meeting, Biden will travel to Brussels to attend a NATO summit and a U.S.-European Union summit before what is expected to be a contentious face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFox News: 'Entirely unacceptable' for 'NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson' Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia next week MORE in Geneva.