French President Emmanuel Macron warned Wednesday that President Biden’s signature domestic policies could “fragment the West,” leveling unusually blunt criticism shortly after touching down in Washington for the first state visit of the Biden presidency.
“There is a risk today that we must discuss among friends,” Macron said in a talk at the French Embassy. “The risk is that, in the face of the challenges I mentioned, the U.S. looks first to the U.S., which is normal — we do the same.”
But he added, “The choices made, whose goals I share — especially the IRA or the Chips Act — are choices that will fragment the West because they create such differences between the U.S. and Europe.”
Macron was referring to the Inflation Reduction Act, which among other things provides billions to support the U.S. clean energy industry, and a separate measure that bolsters U.S. semiconductor manufacturers.
Both are aimed in large part at countering China’s growing influence, but European leaders fear they will damage the continent’s own industries and possibly even ignite a trade war of sorts. “They create such differences between the U.S. and Europe that those who work in these industries will simply say to themselves, ‘We no longer make investments on the other side of the ocean,’” Macron said.