US President Joe Biden has arrived in Rome for a very busy visit to the continent. As Catholic president, he will meet Pope Francis, as well as his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. That last meeting comes in the shadow of a broken deal on submarines.
Over the next few days, Biden attends the G-20 leaders’ summit and the climate summit in Glasgow.
Biden’s first stop is the Vatican, where Pope Francis meets him. That meeting has special significance because, unlike most other US presidents, Biden is a devout Catholic. In addition, it is already the fourth time that Biden and Francis have met.
Of course, President Biden cannot ignore his hosts in Italy, which are Prime Minister Mario Draghi and President Sergio Mattarella. In addition, this afternoon, Biden will have a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, which may be in a tense atmosphere.
Where both used to get along well, now the shadow of AUKUS hangs over their heads. That is the new alliance between the US, the UK and Australia in the Far East. France is not (yet) among them but is particularly angry that Australia has cancelled a large order of naval submarines in France and prefers US nuclear submarine technology.
This weekend, Biden is one of the main guests at the summit of the G-20, the major industrialized countries, in Rome. Together with other world leaders, he will examine the global economy, but also international problems. One of these is the minimum tax for multinational companies.
After that, Biden will deliver another speech at COP26, the Climate Summit in the Scottish city of Glasgow. As the leader of one of the largest industrial polluters globally – at the same time also the largest economy – Biden can make or break that peak. Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, Biden wants to do the former but is hampered by the fact that his massive infrastructure plan to relaunch the US economy has still not been approved by Congress in Washington.
That plan had set aside more than $500 billion for the fight against climate change. Biden may show great climate ambition in Glasgow, but he has to get it realized in his own parliament, which also applies to the other leaders.