Biden, originally Irish, dislikes London’s efforts to return to the Northern Ireland Protocol. This London policy, although it avoids establishing a border between Northern and Southern Ireland, disrupts the distribution of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland. Earlier in 1998, the so-called “Good Friday” pact, mediated by the United States during the presidency of Bill Clinton, ended the violent conflict between Unionist Protestants and Republican Catholics in Northern Ireland that left some 3,500 dead over 30 years.
According to AFP, a US official said about the current situation that the progress made by this agreement should be maintained. Biden, however, has reportedly taken a stronger stance on the issue of Northern Ireland in more private talks. According to The Times newspaper, a senior US official has accused the London government of “creating” tension in Northern Ireland. US President Joe Biden warned Britain on Tuesday that Northern Ireland’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson must make a serious decision on resolving the dispute before attending the G7 summit.
Post-Covid G7 Meeting
This was the first face-to-face summit since the Covid-19 crisis. Boris Johnson was hosting the meeting with his new wife. He was under domestic pressure to announce the end of quarantine. Boris Johnson is set to announce 21 June as the end of the quarantine and a return to normal life, but given the exponential growth of the coronavirus delta variant, first identified in India, the country is unlikely to open. Johnson declined to comment on the easing of restrictions in all interviews, but the country is expected to face a four-week delay at least.
The summit, on the other hand, was the first appearance of the new US President Joe Biden at the G7 meeting and the first summit after the complete, official withdrawal of Britain from the European Union. The British government has always emphasised the “special relationship” with the United States, and in doing so sought to gain credibility from Biden’s presence at the summit as his first foreign destination. However, it is not clear if Biden would have still visited Britain if the summit had been hosted by country instead.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May rushed to Washington to be the first foreign leader to meet with Trump; her excesses and haste in proving the “special relationship” were ridiculed at the time and continue to embarrass the British government. Now, the Biden administration, in stark contrast to Trump, has invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the first European leader to visit Washington. She will be the first European leader to meet with Biden in Washington. The Conservative government’s closeness to the Trump administration, and in particular the mutual praise of Trump and Boris Johnson for each other, has probably remained with the current members of the Biden administration and influenced their decision. During the summit, Boris Johnson called relations with the United States “indestructible,” indicating fears of possible destruction. Prior to his trip to Britain, Biden had expressed “deep concern” about rising tensions in Ireland to Boris Johnson. Britain is also under pressure from its European allies. French President Emmanuel Macron told the meeting that France’s relations with Britain could only be resumed if Britain fulfilled its obligations under the Brexit withdrawal agreement. This indicates that relations are not in top condition – which need to be “reset” – and that Britain has apparently not fulfilled some of its obligations.
Boris Swimming in the Sea
The British prime minister went for a morning swim on the Cornish beach before talks began and then walked hand in hand with his wife on the beach near their luxury hotel. Mr Johnson decided to lose weight last year (2020) after being admitted to the intensive care unit for Covid-19, and since then many photos of him running and cycling have been published. In Cornwall, hundreds of protesters took to the streets and demonstrated against the inaction of the leaders of the countries present at the summit on climate change.
Activists of the “Extinction Rebellion” group demonstrated on the streets of Falmouth, and activists calling for a clean sea known as the “Ripples Opposing Sewage to the Sea” marched from Falmouth to Galway beach. The second group held signs saying “State of Emergency for the Oceans and Climate.” The “Ocean Rebellion” group also posted a message of protest on the hull of a ship at Falmouth Wharf, where police officers were stationed.
Lovely Walk on the Beach
The first meeting between Boris Johnson and Joe Biden as leaders of the two countries took place last Thursday before the start of the summit. Instead of shaking hands, the two did the elbow bump, exchanged gifts, and smiled at the cameras before the talks began. Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson accompanied their husbands hand in hand on a walk along the Cornish beach, and while young Wilfred was sitting on the sand watching, they also dipped their feet in the sea. “I told the prime minister we both have something in common, we both married way above our station,” the US president joked.
“A breath of fresh air,” said Johnson about the Biden administration, adding that their differences over Northern Ireland were not significant. Instead, he stressed the close cooperation between the two countries. “It is a pleasure to hear from the government of Joe Biden and himself, because they are going to work with us on a wide range of issues, from security and NATO to climate change,” he said. “It’s great, the weather is fresh and we’re going to do all the work together.”
A Romance for World Leaders
On Sunday night, at the end of the second day of the summit, Mr Johnson invited the world’s most powerful political figures to a barbecue dinner in Carbis Bay. As the crayfish and oyster dishes were handed out, the guests gathered around the barbecue to enjoy hot buttered rum, tandoori marshmallows, local beers, Cornish sparkling wine, and a “hedgerow fizz” cocktail which was served alongside German and Australian wines as guests enjoyed traditional sea shanties by local band Du Hag Owr and a fly-past by the Red Arrows. A British government spokesman was forced to announce that attendees had complied with Covid-19 safety regulations following the release of photos of the event, which showed the guests were neither socially distant nor wearing masks.
Message on Jill Biden’s Jacket
The first lady chose a special and impressive dress for herself on her first overseas trip since January, when she entered the White House. She appeared in front of reporters in a simple black jacket with the word “love” written in crown letters on the back. It seems Jill Biden’s choice is consistent with former First Lady Melania Trump’s jacket, on which it was written, “I really do not care, do you?” Melania wore the jacket while visiting an immigrant detention centre in Texas amid controversy over the separation of children from their parents at the border. Explaining her choice, Jill Biden simply said that she “brought love and friendship from America”.
England-US Inseparable Relationship
Johnson’s remarks came after his first meeting with US President Joe Biden on Thursday, ahead of the G7 summit. “This is a relationship that you can describe as deep and purposeful or whatever you want it to be. It is an inseparable relationship,” he said in an interview with the BBC. Johnson downplayed Biden’s dissatisfaction with “London’s efforts to repeal the Northern Ireland Protocol” aimed at preventing the return of the EU border with Ireland, but said Britain, the European Union, Washington and all parties involved were “very interested” to ensure they maintain the coherence of the “Good Friday” agreement, which was signed in 1998 and ended three decades of bloody conflict in Northern Ireland. “I think we can do that,” Johnson said. Johnson and Biden discussed “25 issues” in detail, including tensions in Northern Ireland over Britain’s exit from the EU. The British government announced in a statement yesterday that Johnson and Biden will sign a new “Atlantic Charter” at their first meeting, addressing the threat of cyberattacks and global warming.
The statement said the new Atlantic Charter was based on a “charter” signed by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill and former US President Franklin Roosevelt. This document addresses newer challenges, such as the need to address the threat posed by cyber-attacks and to take immediate action to combat climate change, protect biodiversity, and help the world eradicate Covid-19. “Cooperation between Britain and the United States, our closest partners and greatest ally, will be crucial to the future of stability and prosperity in the world. The agreements that President Biden and I will make will form the foundation of a sustainable global community,” Johnson said in a statement.
Brexit and the Problem of the Two Irelands
In recent days, the European Union has complained about breaches of British customs obligations on the British-Northern Ireland border. After leaving the EU, there was only one way to avoid demarcation between Northern and Southern Ireland, and that was for Northern Ireland to remain within the EU in terms of customs regulations. However, in order to maintain the integrity of the EU market, it was necessary to control imports and exports between mainland England and Northern Ireland. The demarcation of the Irish border is one of the most sensitive issues in the Irish peace treaty, and even on the eve of the summit, Biden warned the British government not to allow the election to jeopardise Irish peace.
Biden himself is Catholic and from an Irish family. When Britain, like Southern Ireland, was a member of the European Union, there was no need to create a border between the two Irelands. With the withdrawal from the European Union, Britain now has to do almost impossible work. On the one hand, it must control its borders with the European Union, and on the other hand, it must not create a border between Northern and Southern Ireland. In order to achieve both of these goals in practice, it was necessary to create another border within the country, namely between the main island and the island of Ireland.
The European Union is now complaining that British goods have been smuggled into the country from Northern Ireland. Some goods, especially some foodstuffs, are strictly forbidden to enter the European Union. In order to leave the European Union, Britain effectively isolated the part of the country that was always in danger of disintegration, namely Northern Ireland, from the mainland. In this regard, the European Union has recently threatened that if this behaviour continues, Britain will have to wait for a response. Speaking at the press conference on behalf of the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen said: The current protocol was agreed only to avoid creating a difficult border between the two Irelands and was important for maintaining peace in the country.
France-UK Verbal Dispute
London has accused France of making insulting remarks about Ireland’s secession from Britain. The current tensions over the election between the Boris Johnson government and the European Union are a test for Europe, said Clement Boone, France’s adviser on European affairs. “Mr Johnson thinks he can sign an agreement with European countries but not abide by it, and Europe will not react,” Boone told Radio Europe One. I tell British citizens that the commitments must be met or they will face retaliation. Boone attributed the economic and trade problems in Northern Ireland to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and the emergence of a number of trade barriers.
At the G7 summit in the UK, some issues, such as Brexit, even led to a verbal dispute between Johnson and European leaders over unresolved issues, and this debate, especially between him and French President Emmanuel Macron, escalated.
At a meeting with Johnson today, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the need to redefine relations between the two countries and stated that London-Paris relations will improve when London stands by its word in accordance with the election agreement.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden is of Irish descent, prompting Washington to support the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and warn of the consequences of the London-Brussels dispute on Irish peace.
Boris Johnson tried to explain his dissatisfaction with the Northern Ireland Protocol by asking French President Emmanuel Macron what he would do if the sausages of Toulouse, France, could not reach the capital Paris? According to the report, the French president reciprocally argued that the comparison did not work because Paris and Toulouse were both part of the same country, thus implying that Northern Ireland was not part of Britain. Johnson also spoke to his aides after the meeting, and later in an interview said that some leaders should “realise” that Britain is a “united country”. The mistake came after Johnson held morning talks during the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, first with Macron and later with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.
Instead of marking a turning point in the customs inspection dispute in Northern Ireland, the meetings led to a wave of critical media meetings from all sides. A source close to Macron said he had told Johnson that “there needs to be a resumption of French-British relations”, but only if “he kept his promise to the Europeans”. It was also reported that Merkel also said she agreed with finding “pragmatic” solutions to the situation in Northern Ireland, but could not renegotiate the protocol itself. Von der Leyen and Charles Michel also told Johnson that “talks on Northern Ireland should be moderated” and tweeted: “Both sides should implement what we agreed on. And the European Union is in full unity on this.” The Northern Ireland Protocol imposes customs controls on goods entering Northern Ireland from the UK to prevent the imposition of a strict border on the island of Ireland.
Ultimatum by EU Leaders
On the sidelines of the meeting, EU leaders discussed the implementation of the terms of the Brexit agreement on the sensitive issue of Northern Ireland with the British prime minister. During a tripartite meeting with Johnson, the heads of the European Commission and Council of Europe, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, who travelled to the United Kingdom to attend the G7 summit, stressed that London must live up to its promises by agreement. Von der Leyen called the Good Friday Agreement, which oversees peace in Northern Ireland, important, and stressed that both sides must abide by what was agreed in the NI Protocol. Under the protocol, which came into force on 1 January, Northern Ireland remained in the single European market and European customs tariffs were maintained for this part of British territory. There are customs controls and restrictions on goods exported from the UK to Northern Ireland. The purpose of this protocol is to prevent the return of the hared border between this region of England and the Republic of Ireland (a member of the European Union) so that peace reached in 1998 (Good Friday Agreement) after three decades of bloody clashes between supporters of Great British and pro-Union Republicans would be preserved.
The Johnson government did its best to portray a country with a leading role on the international stage. One of the least cost-effective ways to play this role is to protect the environment, reduce greenhouse gases, and create the illusion that Britain is a leader in clean energy. The Johnson government is currently preparing for the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Scotland. Alongside these efforts, one can see deep concern about China coming to power. Relations with the United States and the European Union are also not ideal for Britain. The Johnson government quickly sought to shift direction after aligning itself with Trump and to align itself with the Biden administration. But Americans may not have such a short memory or be naive. Britain also sought to create a kind of common ground among the EU member states by highlighting the issue of China, Covid-19, and the environment. But what became more apparent was the desperation of the Boris Johnson government and the anxiety caused by its voluntary isolation. With the loss of the European Union, Britain hoped to play a pivotal role in the international arena. But it seems that there is a difficult and even impossible path ahead to reach that goal. The British prime minister is reportedly outraged that Emmanuel Macron did not call Northern Ireland part of Britain during the G7 talks.