In New Orleans, Emmanuel Macron encourages Francophonie and meets Elon Musk

Emmanuel Macron arrived on Friday, December 2, in New Orleans, where he will end his state visit to the United States. The day after a lavish reception at the White House, which sealed the deal “friendship” of the French President with his American counterpart, the head of state came to promote Francophonie in this Louisiana city emblematic of Franco-American ties. Once French, “New Orleans”, located in the southeastern United States, was sold by Napoleon Bonaparte to young America in 1803.

He also spoke with the head of Twitter, Elon Musk, in particular about moderation on the social network, recently bought by the billionaire.

After a welcome to the sound of jazz on the airport tarmac, the French president granted himself, together with his wife, Brigitte Macron, a tour of the French Quarter, the very lively historic city center where, among other things, “Welcome Sir”In French in the text.

During an impromptu press briefing, Emmanuel paid tribute to Macron “a country of creolization” “where French is loved, expected”. Its promotion was also one of the goals of the visit by the head of state, who announced the plan from the New Orleans Museum of Art “French for everyone”. The program aims to “expand and develop” teaching the French language in the United States, “from kindergarten to higher education”to reduce its practice “elitist”. The French must stay “a language with cultural and economic opportunities”emphasized the President of the Republic.

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A “candid discussion” with Elon Musk

Before this speech, Emmanuel Macron discreetly met Elon Musk, with whom he claimed on Twitter to have had one “clear and honest discussion”. He insisted that the social network, which is now owned by the American billionaire, is doing “effort” in terms of transparency and content dissemination.

“Transparent terms of use, significant strengthening of content distribution and protection of freedom of expression: Twitter must make an effort to comply with European rules”insisted the French president, who did not answer questions from the press about this surprise meeting.

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In a series of tweets, the French president also said he spoke with Tesla’s founder about “future green industrial projects, such as the production of electric vehicles and batteries”without further details. Elon Musk said to himself in response “eager” about “exciting projects in France”without going into details.

The French president had previously spoken with the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, to discuss the issue of climate change in particular and according to the Elysée, “strengthen relationships [avec la Louisiane] in the field of energy” – this state is a major exporter of liquefied natural gas.

“Resilience” after Hurricane Katrina

Accompanied by film director Claude Lelouch and dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, Emmanuel Macron was also due to attend in New Orleans by the actors of cultural life in this city, the cradle of jazz.

“We have a history in New Orleans and important things to say there that relate to both our history and what we want to do next”, emphasized Elysée. The head of state therefore had to “celebrates a Franco-American heritage”, but also “celebrates the resilience of a great American city” left behind by Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people and caused billions of dollars in damage in 2005.

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The day before, during a visit filled with diplomatic affection, Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden had shown their unity in Ukraine and demonstrated their desire to seek a solution to the war together. They also softened their stances on the economic disputes that had characterized the preparation of their tete-a-tete in the Oval Office, in particular the government’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) plan, which is accused in Europe of favoring American companies despite the free competition.

“Before I put my foot in the sink”the question of the impact of this American climate plan on European industries was not “not a debate”neither in France nor in the United States, said Friday in Louisiana the head of state. “Now everyone is talking about it, it’s a good thing. »

The White House, for its part, clarified that there were no plans to return to the US Congress for changes to the IRA. “For any landmark piece of legislation like the IRA, there is a complex implementation and process that goes on in federal agencies”spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, adding however that“there are ways to respond to Europe’s concerns”.

Emmanuel Macron reckons, him, that the question of “exemptions” also in demand for European industries “settled down” in the first quarter of 2023.

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The world with AFP

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