Joe Biden confirmed as next President by Mike Pence
As Democrat Joe Biden moves into the Oval Office, it is obvious that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will want to strengthen the special relationship with the former Vice President over the next four years. The Prime Minister has said his congratulatory phone call with Mr Biden after the election went well and that the President-elect was a “big believer” in the trans-Atlantic trade alliance and the special relationship. However, whether he will be able to strike a trade agreement with the Democrat is a completely different matter.
In September, Mr Biden wrote on Twitter: “Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the [Good Friday] Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”
It was the first in a series of discouraging comments linking potential effects of Brexit to a future trade deal.
The following month, he wrote: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.”
In November, Mr Biden reiterated that he did not want to see a guarded border in Ireland.
Asked what his message to Brexit negotiators was, Mr Biden said: “We do not want a guarded border. We want to make sure. We’ve worked too long to get Ireland worked out.
“And I talked with the British Prime Minister, I talked with the Taoiseach, I talked with others, I talked to the French.
Biden’s remarks on ‘EU state’ offer Boris Johnson worrying insight into how he sees bloc
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
“The idea of having a border north and south once again being closed is just not right, we’ve just got to keep the border open.”
Moreover, the President-elect’s remarks on the “EU state” offer Prime Minister Boris Johnson a worrying insight into how the President-elect sees the bloc.
Asked about Britain’s withdrawal from the EU at a London event in 2018, Mr Biden said he would have voted against it if he were a British MP.
He argued that US interests are diminished now that Britain is not an integral part of Europe and bringing to bear influence well beyond the economy, on the European attitudes towards a whole range of subjects.
He said: “It seems to me that there is a growing awareness in Europe as a whole and around the world that Britain played a role in Europe over the last 30 years that went well beyond the notion of open borders, trade and all these other things – being able to influence attitudes about things that have nothing to do with the elements of the EU state.”
The European Union, because it is so large and consists of so many characteristics of a typical state, is often mistakenly referred to as a state or a country.
However, it is a political organisation, which operates through a hybrid system of intergovernmentalism and supranationalism.
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President-elect Joe Biden
The United States of Europe (USE), the European State, the European Superstate, the European Federation and Federal Europe are similar hypothetical scenarios of a single sovereign state in Europe, organised as a federation similar to the United States of America, as contemplated by political scientists, politicians, geographers, historians, futurologists, and fiction writers.
At present, while the EU is not officially a federation, various academic observers regard it as having the characteristics of a federal system.
The term European Superstate, particularly by eurosceptics within the UK, is usually used as a criticism of further integration into the EU with a loss of national sovereignty.
On the ties between the US and UK, Mr Biden continued: “There is a special relationship, we have been locked cheek and jowl on almost every important issue that exists, and so without England being totally integrated in the EU to the extent that it is distanced from that diminishes our ability to have influence on events on the continent.
“I do believe very strongly that the United States’ ability to play a major role in the security of the West and the prosperity of the transatlantic partnership rests in part on Great Britain’s influence in Europe.”
Despite Mr Biden’s positive comments about Europe, EU politicians are said to be unsure that the former Vice President will fully reverse some of Mr Trump’s policies during his term.
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President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
Former EU ambassador to the US David O’Sullivan
German centre-right MEP David McAllister believes Mr Biden will continue to make demands on EU nations to spend more on defence to keep NATO together, and will “probably only present them differently in tone and style”.
Mr O’Sullivan, the former EU ambassador to the US, also told the EU Observer: “I’m certain that the Biden administration will not just sign up to the agreement [on Iranian nuclear non-proliferation] that Trump walked out of, but would call for extra restrictions on Iranian missile programmes and terrorist sponsorship.”
On trade, German centre-left MEP Bernd Lange added: “I am convinced that we can achieve, here and there, some trade-facilitation measures, but there won’t be a comprehensive agreement like the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal negotiated before Trump came to power, due to strong competitive differences.”
EU politicians are also aware that Mr Biden is to inherit a politically and socially divided US, which is therefore going to prevent him from conducting the same kind of foreign policy as in the pre-Trump era.
Faced with an economy battered by coronavirus, Mr Biden will probably eschew Mr Trump’s more protectionist tendencies but some sort of “America First” vision for sensitive industries is likely to live on.
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: “There is no return to the good old times due to America’s internal crisis.”
Mr O’Sullivan added: “He [Biden] will struggle to impose his agenda.
Supporters of President Trump take over balconies and inauguration scaffolding at Capitol Hill
“This is going to lead to a very introverted America focusing very much on domestic politics and domestic concerns.”
EU Justice Commission Didier Reynders told Belgian radio: “We have heard the groundswell of opinion polls, of the media, especially in Europe, announcing the end [of Trump’s politics], with a very large gap in favour of Joe Biden.
“But, I think, you have to be aware of the situation in the United States, which is very divided geographically.
“From now on, we must look at how Europe can work with emerging powers that are difficult to manage such as Russia, China, or India.
“This is probably a role that the EU should take on: promoting multilateralism in the face of an American retreat.”
Bruce Stokes, an associate fellow at Chatham House, a British think-tank, also told the Local Deutsche: “Europeans have to understand that a Biden administration is going to be so domestically preoccupied.”
Yesterday, violent supporters of President Trump breached the Capitol in Washington, as lawmakers met to confirm the President-elect’s poll win.
In dramatic scenes, demonstrators swarmed the building as Congress members were escorted out by police.
Mr Biden said it was an “insurrection”, and Mr Trump released a video message asking supporters to go home.
The joint session of Congress certifying Mr Biden’s win was suspended and forced into recess.
At least four people have died during the riots, according to police in Washington DC.