Unlike June, when he first visited the Old Continent as president, Biden’s position is now undermined by his administration’s internal political problems and he must also bring up his first major disagreements with European allies.
“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the fate of the majority (Democratic Party) in the House and Senate and my presidency depends on what happens next week,” Biden said Thursday. He initially hoped that before leaving for Europe, Congress would approve a giant investment package for social programs and the fight against climate change. So far, Biden has announced an initial deal for Democrats on a settlement package worth $1.75 trillion (about $38.6 trillion), double the amount originally intended.
More importantly, it remains uncertain that enough Democrats will raise their hands next week for a slimmer plan, and so they are heading to the summits in Europe only with a promise rather than the approved plan. In addition, Biden’s voter support has declined significantly. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 42 percent of Americans are behind it. No contemporary US president has enjoyed any less support – with the exception of Donald Trump – at this point in government.
Laugh at the Pope, restart Macron
This is affected not only by the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic, when new infections are increasing again in the United States, despite the intensive vaccination campaign, and at the same time the supply of trade is shrinking, but also by the chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The rapid departure of American forces, despite the reservations of the allies, also severely affected relations with Europe. Although few European leaders have publicly criticized the Biden administration for doing so, according to the Politico website, disappointing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who would otherwise have been very loyal, has also expressed her displeasure behind the scenes.
The president spoke with the Pope for an unusually long time – about 90 minutes. She told CNN, referring to her sources, that the meeting took place in a very quiet atmosphere and there was a laugh.
The talks took place behind closed doors, but presumably the talk was about climate change, immigration or inequality. While Pope Francis has been in sharp conflict with Republican President Trump, he is closer to Biden, despite the fact that the Democratic president has more liberal views on abortion, among other things. The Catholic Biden met Francis for the fourth time.
The next afternoon meeting may not have been much fun for Biden. He met French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since the relatively new spat between Washington and Paris. France even withdrew its ambassador from the United States for a while in September after the Americans and British announced a new security agreement with Australia, as a result of which Paris lost the lucrative nuclear submarine contract to Canberra.
“I think what we did … was clumsy,” Biden commented on the incident on Friday. He allegedly believed that Paris had been informed in advance. Macron said the two countries should work better together to avoid similar misunderstandings next time.
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