French President Macron visited Louisiana and met with Elon Musk

Sarah Cline and Sylvie Corbett, Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. – French President Emmanuel Macron is visiting Louisiana, the state historically most closely linked to the US state, on Friday to celebrate long-standing cultural ties and discuss energy policy.

Mr. Macron met with political leaders and walked through New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, the heart of the city, stopping to chat and shake hands with passers-by.

President Macron also said on Twitter that he had met with billionaire Elon Musk for a “clear and frank discussion”, days after a top European Union official notified the platform’s new owner. users from harmful content.

This is the first visit by a French president since Valery Giscard d’Estaing visited Lafayette and New Orleans in 1976. The only French president who visited Louisiana was Charles de Gaulle in 1960.

Mr. Macron’s route started from Jackson Square. Mayor LaToya Cantrell accompanied Governor John Bel Edwards to the New Orleans Historical Collection to discuss the effects of climate change. President Macron also met with representatives of energy companies.

Mr. Macron told reporters in French that the state visit puts France and Europe at the center of the American agenda. “It’s a good thing,” he said.

“I think this is our special relationship with France. It’s historical and cultural,” Mr. Edwards said.

Governor Edwards, a Democrat, spoke candidly about the dangers of climate change in a state where tens of thousands of jobs are tied to the oil and gas industry. French officials stressed that this makes the stop in New Orleans a “high symbol” of climate efforts.

During a brief meeting attended by Mr. Macron, the Governor and the Minister of European and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, they signed a memorandum of understanding “to expand and strengthen the strong cultural ties between France and Louisiana.” economy, clean energy and environment,” the governor’s office said.

The governor’s office said the contract formally creates a Louisiana-based position for a French technical expert on the clean energy transition.

During Macron’s visit to Washington on Thursday, he and President Joe Biden issued a joint statement expressing their “deep concern about the growing impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss” and said they “intend to mobilize their countries and the international community.” to fix it.”

On Friday evening, Mr Macron posted a photo on Twitter of his meeting with Elon Musk, the two men sitting next to each other at a table in an empty room. He said he discussed “future green industry projects” and the social media platform with the Tesla CEO.

“A transparent user policy, a significant strengthening of content moderation and the protection of freedom of expression: efforts must be made by Twitter to comply with European rules,” the French president said in a series of tweets.

In New Orleans, Mr. Macron also announced his “French for All” initiative to ensure equal access to French for everyone in the United States, from kindergarten to higher education. The goal is to make this teaching more accessible to everyone, he said. “And fight a little so that French is not a language that sometimes seems a bit elitist,” he said.

New Orleans is where the Louisiana Purchase was finalized in 1803, transferring the state of Louisiana from France to the United States. The state’s most populous city is also home to the French Quarter, the historic heart of New Orleans that is more than 300 years old.

First installed in the 1700s, it was destroyed by fire twice. It is best known as a tourist destination and shopping district where the reconstructed French market, fine dining, antique shops and art galleries coexist with T-shirt shops, strip clubs and bars. Broadcasting of musical performances.

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