Longtime French Diplomat Lambasts Joe Biden as a 'Big Disappointment All Over Europe'

Gérard Araud, the former ambassador to the United States from France, claims that President Joe Biden is seen as a "big disappointment" across Europe.

Araud, who served as an ambassador from 2014 to 2019 and as a French diplomat for over three decades, asserted Biden has no foreign policy for the region during an interview with The New Republic.

"You know, Obama didn't care about Europe," Araud told the magazine. "Trump was hostile to Europe. And here you have Biden. And Biden, to be frank so far, is a big disappointment all over Europe."

Araud said there were several issues—namely cybersecurity, climate change and cryptocurrency—where work could be done together, but "frankly, there has been no reaction from the U.S. administration." Instead, he claimed, U.S. foreign policy is completely focused on China.

"You can ask other European ambassadors, and I was on the phone with them, and they were agreeing, saying, 'It's a big disappointment. There is no European policy.' The Americans are shifting to China. So they have a foreign policy: China, China, China," Araud said.

The remarks came as Biden is facing backlash from some European leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron.

Araud: Biden 'Big Disappointment' Across Europe
Gérard Araud, the former ambassador to the U.S. from France, said President Joe Biden is seen as a “big disappointment” across Europe. In this photo, Biden delivers remarks during a campaign press conference on August 7, 2019, in Iowa. Tom Brenner/Getty Images

The French government criticized the U.S. last week after Australia scrapped a deal for submarines in favor of a nuclear submarine deal using American technology. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he was "angry" over the switch, and compared Biden's move to that of Donald Trump's "America First" policy.

"It was really a stab in the back. We built a relationship of trust with Australia, and this trust was betrayed," Le Drian said. "This is not done between allies."

On Friday, France recalled its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia amid a "crisis."

The White House said Monday that Biden will speak with Macron in the coming days. Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that she expects the president to reaffirm the U.S.'s commitment to working with France.

Biden on Tuesday stressed unity in his first address to the United Nations, stating the U.S. isn't seeking a "new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs".

"The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up and pursues peaceful resolution to share challenges, even if we have intense disagreements in other areas," Biden said. "Because we'll all suffer the consequences of our failure if we do not come together to address the urgent threats like COVID-19 and climate change or enduring threats like nuclear proliferation."

But Thierry Breton, the European Union commissioner for internal markets, told CNN that "something is broken between our relations in Europe and the US."

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment on Araud's remarks but did not receive a response before publication.