US President Trump to Visit France for Bastille Day and Associated Travel Risks
13 Jul 2017
US President Donald Trump has arrived in France, for a two-day visit. He accepted the invitation of France’s President Emmanuel Macron and will be a guest of honour for Bastille Day (France’s national day) celebrations. Both presidents are due to stand side-by-side for the French military parade along the Champs-Elysées. This visit also serves to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the US’ entry into World War One. In their short periods as their respective country’s leaders, the relationship has shown some strain. Most notably a handshake in which both parties gripped too hard and too long.
- The President of the United States, Donald Trump, is set to visit France for Bastille Day, France’s National Day.
- President Macron of France issued the invitation to his American counterpart.
- President Trump has proved to be a divisive figure in Europe. His visit will lead to travel delays and the potential for civil unrest.
Civil Unrest: US President Donald Trump has arrived in France, for a two-day visit. He accepted the invitation of France’s President Emmanuel Macron and will be a guest of honour for Bastille Day (France’s national day) celebrations. Both presidents are due to stand side-by-side for the French military parade along the Champs-Elysées. This visit also serves to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the US’ entry into World War One. In their short periods as their respective country’s leaders, the relationship has shown some strain. Most notably a handshake in which both parties gripped too hard and too long.
Solace Global Comment
Macron and Trump appear to be polar opposites politically, with Macron classically liberal and Trump a firebrand populist. It is unclear why President Macron invited President Trump to visit on what is effectively France’s national day and it is equally unclear why President Trump would want to visit. Macron could be trying to lure Trump in from his isolationist positions and encourage him to engage more with allied nations, those in Europe especially. For President Trump, this visit allows him to switch off somewhat to an ongoing investigation into his links with Russia and improves his image by mixing with European elites. Both presidents are expected to highlight the areas on which they have some agreement, including defence policy and Syria.
President Trump remains an incredibly unpopular figure in France, Paris especially. According to recent polls, a mere 14 per cent of French citizens believe Trump will “do the right thing regarding world affairs”. This is compared to 75 per cent for President Obama, President Trump’s predecessor. This has largely been attributed to his pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and his rhetoric during the election campaign which included stating that “France is a disaster” and that certain areas of Paris are under Sharia law. For his part, Macron has criticised the US’ pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and even encouraged US scientists to move to France, where Macron claimed that they would be welcomed. President Macron will surely hope to be able to show President Trump that his image of the French capital differs greatly with the reality on the ground. It should be noted, however, another poll suggested that 59 per cent of French people approved of Macron’s decision to invite Trump.
France was one such location which joined in the Women’s March on 21 January 2017. The march was led by a Washington DC demonstration, was ostensibly in opposition to President Trump’s inauguration and in response to some of the more disagreeable comments he made about women during the 2016 Presidential Election Campaign. In Paris, more than 7,000 joined the demonstration, with more than 10,000 in total across the country. It is unclear what sort of opposition crowds will greet or demonstrate against President Trump. However, at least one group, ‘Paris Against Trump’, is planning a ‘No Trump Zone’ protest in the Place de la Republique. Similarly, rioters greeted President Trump (and other world leaders) during the G20 Summit in Hamburg last week.President Trump’s exact itinerary is not clear at this time. He is set to fly into Paris Orly Airport, have lunch at the US ambassador’s residence, visit the American Cemetery in Suresnes, then lay a wreath at the Memorial de L’Escadrille La Fayette, before meeting President Macron at the Hotel des Invalides. He is also expected to dine with Macron on the Eiffel Tower. He will then join President Macron for the military parade on the Champs-Elysées.
Enhanced security measures will also be experienced in Paris, to an even greater extent than the city has experienced under its ongoing state of emergency. This includes snipers posted along the Champs-Elysées and a bullet proof screen for Trump while he watches a military parade along the famous avenue.
SECURITY ADVICECivil UnrestLow
Protests in France frequently descend into low levels of violence, especially if involving far-right or anarchist protestors. With this in mind, travellers are advised to avoid all sights of possible protest, as detailed above. Travellers should also consider that, due to it being Franceâs national day, a high level of travel disruption should be expected on 14 July across France, regardless of President Trumpâs travel itinerary.
Bastille Day marks the one-year anniversary of the Nice attacks in 2016, the commemoration of this, President Macron will attend. The importance of Bastille Day, and its relationship to the French populous, makes it a highly symbolic date for an attack to occur. Travellers are advised to maintain vigilance and situational awareness at all times. Travellers should also ensure that they remember the RUN-HIDE-TELL-FIGHT protocol, in the event of a terror incident.
Solace Global would not advise clients of the need to employ enhanced security measures when visiting France. Travellers should consider employing travel-tracking technology with an intelligence feed to stay abreast of any security-related incidents.
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