According to back-to-back announcements by the Elysée and the White House, a state visit by French president François Hollande to the US is planned for February 11, 2014.
“Michelle and I look forward to welcoming President Hollande and Valérie Trierweiler on a state visit to the United States,” a White House press release reads. On the program is, of course, a state dinner.
Such events have become a rarity over the last few presidential terms: this will be the 6th state dinner hosted by the Obamas, and George W. Bush hosted 6 total during his 8 years in office. Bill Clinton was much more of a social butterfly with 23 dinners, but even he couldn’t match Ronald Reagan’s 35.
Both men are probably hoping that by then some of the tension over the NSA spying scandal will have dissipated. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff cancelled her state visit in protest of alleged US spying on her and her top aides. “The United States and France are close friends and allies,” reads the statement by the President regarding Hollande’s visit, “our countries have worked together to support democracy, liberty, and freedom at home and abroad for more than two centuries. During the visit, we will discuss opportunities to further strengthen the U.S.-France security and economic partnership.”
The two men will meet face to face at least twice next year: Hollande has invited Obama to the ceremonies celebrating the 70th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy beaches in June.