Focus of Macron’s Australia state visit revealed

Macron arrived in Sydney on Monday. His itinerary includes a dinner at the famous Opera House

The Elysée has confirmed that Macron's official visit is focusing on “strengthening the strategic partnership” between Australia and France, especially on defence and climate change, as well as food, art, and culture.

Macron, who arrived in Sydney on Monday (April 30), has sought to highlight the importance of the visit to France, made especially clear due to it taking place during the President’s first year in office.

The visit to Australia comes immediately after the President’s official visit to the United States last week, and will form part of a week-long stay in the Pacific region.

The President’s itinerary will include a state dinner at the Sydney Opera House, and a meeting with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The duo is expected to discuss issues of defence, security, and the economy, as well as commerce.

According to a statement from the Elysée palace, discussions will centre on what it called the "Indo-Pacific axis and the role of the Franco-Australian partnership in strengthening this axis".

Macron is expected to make a speech on the same issue before French and Australian military personnel on Sydney navy base Garden Island.

France and Australia have worked closely on defence in recent years - for example, in 2016, Australia ordered 12 Shortfin Barracuda submarines from the French shipbuilder DCNS.

Macron has also confirmed he is keen to talk about climate change and ways to limit damage, with particular focus on the dying coral reefs around the French territory of New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie), found 1,500 km east of Brisbane in the Pacific Ocean.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss a dozen or so other issues, and agree partnerships on the establishment of French small businesses in Australia, cooperation between universities, on health research, and on cultural art projects.

An ANZAC memorial event is also planned for the visit, to commemorate the Australian and New Zealander involvement during the First World War in France.

The visit will not be limited to political discussions, however; Macron will also meet with French and Australian chefs to discuss issues of gastronomy.

He will also make a speech to the French artistic community at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney, which is currently exhibiting the historic “Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries, on loan from the Cluny museum in Paris.

Macron will also meet a group of Aboriginal artists working on projects highlighting the effects of climate change.

A press conference is expected to take place on Wednesday, with Macron set to appear alongside the ministers for foreign affairs, health, and higher education, as well as a number of representatives of small businesses in technology and defence.

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