Political Relations

Political Relations

Last updated on December 20, 2013

Relations between France and the United States are especially robust today, as evidenced by several recent instances of bilateral visits in the political sphere.

On July 6, 2012, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represented the United States at a conference on Syria at the Elysée Palace, the Presidential headquarters in Paris.

On July 18 and 19, French Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, Pierre Moscovici, visited the United States. He discussed the status of the euro currency zone and European economic policy with Christine Lagarde, Executive Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Benjamin Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve System. Mr. Moscovici also met with Timothy Geithner, former U.S. Secretary of Treasury; Jim Yong Kim, President of World Bank Group; and Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council.

On July 22, French Minister of Higher Education and Research, Geneviève Fioraso, and French Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Marisol Touraine, also came to Washington, D.C., to represent France at an international conference on AIDS.

On August 2, Steve Beshear, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, met with Laurent Beauvais, President of the Regional Council of Basse-Normandie, in France. They visited the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach, which was retaken by American troops on D-Day.

French President François Hollande attended the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, where he and Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius addressed key issues, including the conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East.

Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma, was in France from October 14-15 to promote Oklahoma’s economic development.

On October 25 and 26, French Minister for Small and Medium Enterprises, Innovation, and the Digital Economy, visited Boston to launch the “Say Oui to France, Say Oui to Innovation” campaign. The campaign aims to attract direct foreign investment in France, as well as strengthen French-American economic relations.

Mr. Hollande telephoned Mr. Obama on November 8, just two days after the U.S. Presidential election, to congratulate him on winning a second term. Since then, the two Presidents have maintained regular contact as they continue to work together on the full breadth of French-American political relations.

2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assumed his post on January 31, 2013. Mr. Fabius congratulated him during a telephone conversation. On February 4, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Mr. Hollande in Paris, where they discussed French military intervention in Mali, the conflict in Syria, Iran’s nuclear program, the Middle East peace process, French-American economic partnership, and climate change.

In international affairs, France and the United States maintained their roles at the forefront of efforts to bring a swift halt to the bloodshed in Syria and to promote a political transition in this country. The threat of the use of force following the horrific chemical gas attacks of August 21 led to a UN Security Council resolution on chemical weapons in Syria and has encouraged a political solution through a “Geneva II” conference planned in the Swiss city for 2014.

French-American cooperation also extended to the military arena. The unrest taking place in the west African nation of Mali brought about a military intervention led by France starting in January. The United States supported the peacekeeping mission through material and logistical support.

In June, France and the United States participated in the G20 Meeting in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland. They joined the leading economies of the world in order to promote growth and job creation.

2013 saw numerous visits from French Ministers. In May, French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian for meetings with U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.

In June, Manuel Valls, Minister of the Interior, conducted meetings in Washington and New York City to confer with American counterparts on immigration, organized crime, and the fight against terrorism.

As part of the "Taste of France" convention in New York City in late September, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Junior Minister for the Food Industry Guillaume Garot attended to support French food, business, and industry. The event was the world’s largest devoted to the theme of France. Mssrs. Fabius and Canfin, as well as Minister Delegate for the Francophone World, Yamina Benguigui, attended the United Nations General Assembly taking place at the same time.

Fleur Pellerin, Minister for the Digital Economy, visited San Francisco in June for a series of events with leading French and American technology professionals.

As part of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in mid-October, Pierre Moscovici, Minister for Finance and the Economy, came to Washington for three days of events. He was joined by Mr. Canfin, who spoke at the Brookings Institution and the Organization of American States (OAS).

France and the United States participated in the G20 Meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, in November 2013. French President François Hollande and U.S. President Barack Obama conducted a bilateral meeting to discuss international issues including Mali, Iran, and Syria.

In November, Arnaud Montebourg, Minister for Production Recovery, traveled to Boston, where he spoke on France’s industrial initiatives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The same month, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius participated in talks regarding Iranian nuclear policy. He joined United States Secretary of State John Kerry and representatives from four other world powers to reach an interim deal on November 24, indicating an easing of sanctions against Iran if the government agrees to curb its nuclear activities.

2014

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew traveled to Paris in January 2014, at the invitation of French President François Hollande. The two were joined by Mr. Moscovici.

top of the page