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13 Jul, 2017 12:38

'France is no longer France': Trump meets Macron to seek common ground

A smiling Emmanuel Macron shook Donald Trump’s hand in Paris, despite tensions over Washington’s pullout of the Paris climate deal. Trump once stated that he would not visit the nation, as terrorist attacks had proven that “France is no longer France.”

The two leaders met at the Hotel des Invalides on Thursday, a 17th century military complex where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried.

"Emmanuel, nice to see you. This is so beautiful," Trump told Macron. 

The American and French leaders are meeting in the French capital to discuss Syria and fighting terrorism, along with other issues.

Trump, Macron, and their wives will have dinner at the Eiffel Tower later on Thursday, where a rare blue lobster is to be on the menu.

On Friday, Trump is to attend a Bastille Day parade in the French capital.

Despite Macron’s desire to stand near Trump at the G20 family photo in Hamburg last week, as he pushed his way through the world leaders to take the place beside the US president, he has repeatedly criticized Trump’s recent decision to pull out of the Paris agreement on climate change.

The treaty was signed by almost 200 nations in 2016 and considered a major achievement by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. Withdrawal from the deal was one of Trump’s presidential campaign promises, aimed at securing more jobs for Americans and production rates. 

READ MORE: Macron ruthlessly trolls Trump over Paris Accord exit, Twitter follows

While Trump sees the climate accord as a means for other countries to take financial advantage of the US, Macron alongside other European leaders stepped up against that outcome. The French leader condemned the move, saying that America “turned its back on the world,” but promising not to do the same in retaliation.

In a social media spat with Trump, Macron launched the #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain slogan, apparently referring to Trump’s campaign motto.

He also invited “engineers, entrepreneurs [and] responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the United States” to come to France, which could act as “their second homeland.”

Last year, then-presidential hopeful Trump said he would not go to France as “France is no longer France.” The statement came following a fatal terrorist attack in Nice during Bastille Day celebrations.

French citizens seem to share their president’s view on the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, according to a survey carried out by Pew Research Center. The poll was conducted before Trump announced his decision, but even then 90 percent of the surveyed people disapproved the move. The poll also showed that the French have “low levels of confidence in Trump” alongside other European nations.  

Both leaders frequently appeared in media headlines, with some comparing them to superheroes. RT correspondents asked people on the streets of Paris to describe Trump’s and Macron’s potential superpowers.  

“He can throw flowers and take good selfie,” one woman told RT referring to the French president, also showing a pose of this ‘superhero’, which she named ‘OK Macron’. Meanwhile, a group of young women interviewed by RT added ‘manipulating people’ to Trump’s ‘superpowers’, while another woman said that Trump’s ‘The Destroyer’ superhero would be clad in a bright gold costume.