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Political Relations

Political Relations

Last updated on June 17, 2017

France and the US maintain a close relationship. In Africa and the Middle East, the two countries continue to work together to establish stability. France remains one of the pillars of NATO, as it is one of the top five troop contributors to the alliance. France is also the U.S.’s third-largest economic partner, with trade and investments bolstering transatlantic economic relations.

After suffering several attacks on its soil, France has deepened its cooperation with the US on counterterrorism. In January 2015, President Barack Obama came to the French Embassy in Washington to express his solidarity with France and with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. President François Hollande met with President Obama in November 2015, to build a broad international anti-ISIS coalition.

The year 2015 was also marked by the signing of the Paris Agreement at the international conference on climate change. President Obama, who was in Paris for the occasion, praised this historic and ambitious agreement, as the fight against global warming was one of his priorities. Both Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Seas, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo attended the Climate Action 2016 conference hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May 2016 in Washington. They both emphasized the importance of accelerating the implementation of the Paris Agreement through the mobilization of all stakeholders.

In 2016, President Hollande went to the U.S. on three occasions: for the summit on nuclear security, the celebration of the signing of the Paris Agreement, and the UN General Assembly. French-American cooperation continued at all levels throughout the year, with bilateral ministerial meetings and major international meetings.

2017

Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, French and American authorities have met several times. Former President Hollande congratulated his counterpart on his victory in a phone call on January 27, during which they both asserted that the fight against terrorism was their priority.

On February 3, then Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault spoke by phone with the new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and they both reaffirmed the solidity of the French-American alliance against the terrorist threat. Their first meeting was on February 16 during the G20 in Bonn. On February 15, during the meeting of NATO’s defense ministers, Jean-Yves Le Drian met with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Despite the French presidential elections, several diplomatic meetings were held (meeting of the anti-ISIS coalition of foreign and defense ministers, the NATO meeting, the G7 foreign ministers meeting, and talks between Mr. Le Drian and General Mattis during the 100th anniversary of the US entry into World War I).

Following the results of the French elections, Donald Trump spoke by phone with Emmanuel Macron to congratulate the newly elected French president. The two heads of state also met twice in May, during the NATO summit in Brussels and the G7 summit in Taormina.

After President Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, President Macron reiterated that the fight against climate change was still a priority for France and the international community.

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