June 16, 2021

Joe Biden and Boris Johnson mute their Northern Ireland dispute

No question of spreading their differences and spoiling a G7 supposed to present a united front of democracies facing the challenges of the pandemic and global warming. For their first face-to-face face-to-face meeting, Thursday 10 June in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, just before this summit hosted by the United Kingdom, the American President, Joe Biden, and the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, preferred to highlight their ” common points “, their “Complete harmony” even if we are to believe Downing Street, on the very tense issue of Northern Ireland.

That very morning, The Times revealed that the White House had instructed at the beginning of June one of its most capped diplomats in London, Yael Lempert, to tell Lord David Frost, the British Minister for Europe, all the bad things she thought of the government’s attitude Johnson, who refuses customs controls yet necessary in the province since Brexit. This attitude “Stirs up” tensions in Northern Ireland and “Forces attention” of an American president who claims his Irish roots and had the opportunity to say, before his election, that he saw Brexit as a mistake – and Boris Johnson as a « clone » de Donald Trump.

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Common responsibility

Europeans and British oppose the application of the ‘Northern Irish Protocol’, the part of the divorce treaty governing the province’s dual status after leaving the EU – it is still part of the UK but remains in the European internal market for goods. The protocol aims to avoid the establishment of a physical border on the island of Ireland, it was signed by the Johnson government at the end of 2019, but the latter now refuses the establishment of customs controls for goods transiting from Great- Brittany to Northern Ireland, on the grounds that they create too much disturbance for the populations. It is true that this border in the Irish Sea has created a lot of frustration in the loyalist community, which sees it as an attack on its British identity.

Elbow bows and exchanges of pleasantries about their respective marriages, while their wives strolled barefoot on the beach: since Carbis Bay, Joe Biden and Boris Johnson have done everything to put their dissent to the ground. “It’s wonderful to hear Joe Biden and his administration, there are so many things they want to do with us, from security to NATO and the fight against climate change. It’s a real breath of fresh air ”, exclaimed a more enthusiastic Boris Johnson than ever on Thursday. The eighty-minute interview between the two men was “Very productive”, said, for his part, Joe Biden.

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