According to the president-elect, “the idea of re-closing the mind and the southern border is just inappropriate,” adding that all stakeholders are obliged to “keep the border open.”
The UK left the EU on 31 January and is currently in a transitional period ending on 31 December, with or without a formal trade agreement.
Johnson’s government exacerbated these concerns over the summer when it introduced national legislation that the government itself admitted violated Johnson’s treaty with the EU, thus violating international law in a “very specific and limited way”.
The Internal Market Act would allow the British Government to effectively disregard parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol in order to make British trade between the four nations as smooth as possible. However, critics believe that in the case of unbound Brexit, this could necessitate customs controls between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
They fear that any border infrastructure will then be in danger of being damaged or attacked by customs officers, which will be a guarded border. This, many worry, would lead to a dangerous slide back to sectarian violence that has claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people in three decades.
U.S. politicians from both parties, namely former Democratic President Bill Clinton, played a major role in negotiating the Good Friday 1998 agreement, which put an end to much of the violence.
Biden had previously spoken publicly about the matter, tweeting in September: “We cannot allow the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland to fall victim to Brexit. The return of the deadline for trade agreements between the United States and the United Kingdom. Period.”
The British and Europeans, who are desperate for an agreement in the coming days, hope it will be enough carrots for Johnson to free up negotiations and avoid a collapse. The adoption of a trade agreement with the United States has always been maintained by Brexiteers as the main advantage of leaving the EU. And it’s no secret that Johnson is happy to build a good relationship with Bidend.
However, time is running out. Brexit negotiations on the same issues have been stalled for months. With Johnson having to talk to the President of the European Commission sometime this week, the hope among those who want an agreement is that Biden’s words will persuade Johnson to finally make the necessary concessions.