French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Australia

2 May 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Australia

Image credit: Australian Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Sydney for his debut visit to Australia and spent his first evening dining with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his family at the Sydney Opera House.

The president landed at Sydney airport on Tuesday evening to kick off a three day visit, which is expected to focus on trade, defence and strategic issues.

The visit by President Macron comes amid chaotic protests in Paris, which have arisen due to Mr Macron’s new economic policies.

Shortly after the meeting between the two government heads, riots broke out in the streets of Paris, where French police were forced to use tear gas against hundreds of hooded protesters who had begun to smash windows and hurl petrol bombs at the start of a May Day rally.

While in Australia, Mr Macron is expected to pay tribute to fallen Australian soldiers in Sydney on Wednesday morning before meeting with the Governor-General later in the day to discuss research collaborations between the Australian National University and the French space agency CNES.

“We will celebrate our common history,” Mr Macron told reporters outside the Opera House on Tuesday night.

“We will work together on a very important partnership in the region, in the indo-Pacific. And we will work together in order to develop our economic links,” he said.

Mr Macron is expected to travel to New Caledonia after his short visit to Australia to rally support for the territory remaining part of France when residents of the country go to a referendum in early November.