US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden board Air Force One for Rome on October 28, 2021 from Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland – Brendan Smialowski © 2019 AFP
It was at the end of an intense and trying political sequence that Joe Biden flew to Europe. Before boarding Air Force One on Thursday, the President of the United States announced that he had found, despite the infighting in his party, part of an agreement for his “historic plan” in in favor of families and the environment. The latter, the cornerstone of his vast project “Build Back Better” for which he was elected last year, has finally been revised downwards while the popularity of Donald’s successor Trump is getting lower and lower, according to various polls.
The next few days promise to be busy for the American President. As of Saturday, the former vice-president of Barack Obama is expected at the G20 summit before flying to Glasgow, where the COP26 will be held from October 31st. As a preamble, this Friday, Joe Biden must honor several appointments.
Starting at noon, the President of the United States will travel to the Vatican with his wife Jill, where he will meet Pope Francis for the fourth time in his life, but the first as President of the United States. A very special meeting for the one who is the second Catholic to enter the White House, and who often evokes the comfort found in faith in the face of a series of family bereavements.
Officially, the US President and the Pope will discuss their common concerns: poverty, climate change and the pandemic. No mention on the other hand in the agenda of the right to abortion, a subject on which they are frontally opposed. With the approach of the COP26, the sovereign pontiff for his part called the leaders to provide “urgently” “effective responses to the ecological crisis”.
The press is kept away from the meeting. For example, there will be no live video broadcast of the event, which drew protests from journalists covering the Vatican and the White House.
After the meeting with the Pope is over, Joe Biden is due to meet with Italian head of government Mario Draghi from 3.15 p.m. Host of the G20 summit to be held on Saturday and Sunday, the former head of the European Central Bank is arousing much interest in the United States and elsewhere with his forced-march reform plans e.
Some commentators paint Mario Draghi – past the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the American bank Goldman Sachs, household names to the American elites – as the new star of the European political scene.
This will be the first face-to-face reunion of the two leaders since the diplomatic submarine crisis. Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden are due to meet from 4:20 p.m. during a “bilateral interview”, which will take place at the Villa Bonaparte, site of the French embassy near the Vatican.
The two presidents want to seal their reconciliation face to face, after a very serious crisis around the contract of the Australian submarines, which the United States blew to France. For Joe Biden, the goal is to rekindle the flame with his allies, starting with the French president.
According to the Élysée, the meeting will also be an opportunity to discuss several international issues including the Sahel and the Indo-Pacific region.