5 things to look out for as Trump visits Macron for Bastille Day



5 things to look out for as Trump visits Macron for Bastille Day

US President Donald Trump (R) waves as he disembarks form Air Force One with First Lady Melania Trump upon arrival at Paris Orly airport on July 13, 2017, beginning a 24-hour trip that coincides with France's national day and the 100th anniversary of US involvement in World War I.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

France's President Emmanuel Macron is hosting President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to celebrate Bastille Day.

Friday's national holiday, much like the U.S. Fourth of July, marks the beginning of republican democracy in the country, and will be a symbolic day for the two men who have fought hard to eradicate establishment politics and to represent the average man.

The two leaders are not without their differences, however. They may have come some way from the power play of that awkward first handshake, but there will be several other matters to watch for alongside the evening's fireworks.

  • Agenda

    Trump's two-day visit began Thursday with an official welcome ceremony led by Macron at Les Invalides, where Trump planned to tour a French war museum and visit the tomb of Napoleon.

    From there, the pair will enter into a bilateral meeting on matters including counterterrorism and Syria, before holding a joint news conference.

    In the evening, Trump and Macron will be joined by Melania Trump and French first lady Brigitte Macron at the Eiffel Tower's Michelin-starred Jules Verne restaurant. They are expected to dine on blue lobster and caviar, according to the Telegraph, while watching the Bastille Day fireworks display.

    On Friday, they are to attend further Bastille Day celebrations.

    Fireworks explode around the Eiffel Tower during the annual Bastille Day celebrations.
    Frederic Stevens | WireImage | Getty Images
  • Paris Agreement

    The location of the pair's meeting could scarcely be more fitting given the topic that has most recently divided Trump from his French counterpart — and leaders worldwide: the Paris Agreement.

    The Paris Agreement, so named because it was signed in the French capital at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, refers to an international accord to combat climate change.

    Trump shocked the group's 195 signatories in June when he decided to pull the U.S. out of the accord, branding it an unfair deal.

    The move hung heavy at last week's G-20 meeting in Hamburg, when Trump met with world leaders — many for the first time. Trump did not change his position during the summit, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she "deplored" the decision.

    Given the cordial nature of this meeting, Macron may not use the occasion to push Trump. However, the French president is steadfastly committed to the accord and previously parodied Trump's campaign rhetoric by stating his aims to "make our planet great again." He has scheduled another climate change summit for December.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts next to U.S. President Donald Trump.
    Philippe Wojazer | Reuters
  • Business

    Though vastly divided on their positions on globalization, the two former businessmen will likely find common ground in their plans to ease the business environment in their countries.

    Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe have outlined plans to attract and retain business in France by lowering corporation tax. They intend to cut the levy from 33 percent to 25 percent over the course of the next term.

    They also aim to slash France's high unemployment rate, which remains stubbornly at 10 percent, while attempting to lure post-Brexit businesses away from the City of London.

    This pro-business agenda should appeal to Trump, who shares many of the same aims of cutting taxes and boosting employment. He hopes to dramatically reduce corporation tax to 15 percent.

    Trump has repeatedly criticized the EU and dismissed multilateral trade deals. However, Merkel said Wednesday that she would support a U.S.-EU trade deal, and with Macron and Merkel increasingly aligned on an EU reform agenda, he may be hoping to be the man to build that bridge with the U.S.

    President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.
    Peter Dejong | Reuters
  • Syria and NATO

    This year's meeting marks 100 years since U.S. troops joined World War I, and with the pair set to attend the Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees, defense will be high on the agenda.

    This is an area of aligned interest for both leaders as they seek to find resolutions to the conflict in Syria and the threat of global terrorism.

    Though France is among the European countries to have failed to meet NATO's defense spending target — a matter of great frustration for Trump — a White House official said Tuesday he is satisfied that the country is close to meeting that goal, according to Reuters.

    France is the second-biggest contributor to the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and the pair is expected to thrash out an ongoing approach to the conflict when they hold bilateral talks Thursday afternoon.

    Sean Gallup | Getty Images | Getty Images News
  • Protests

    Protesters are expected to take to the streets of Paris to create a "no Trump zone."

    The Paris Against Trump alliance is planning a rally at the Place des Etats-Unis, the former home of the U.S. Embassy and a place of memorials commemorating ties between the two countries.

    According to a Facebook post from the group, the rally will kick off at 7 p.m. local time on Thursday and culminate in a night of music and dance.

    Organizers say they oppose Trump's "positions on the climate crisis, his international politics against migrants, his sexist speeches and behavior, his Islamophobia and racist remarks, his military plans around the world and his neo-liberalism and capitalism."

    Despite this, Trump's visit has received a broadly positive response from French citizens, according to opinion polls.

    Last week, Hamburg's G-20 meeting of world leaders attracted thousands of protesters who took to the streets in an anticapitalism rally. Almost 500 police officers were reported injured and more than 400 protesters arrested or detained.

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    Demonstrators hold signs to protest against President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, on June 2, 2017.
    Omer Messinger | NurPhoto | Getty Images