eDoes the post-Brexit controversy between London and Brussels have an Atlantic dimension? The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that the British government had launched a “counter-attack” in the United States. A special envoy should be sent to the embassy in Washington to “oppose the EU’s attempts to bring the Biden administration against the United Kingdom.”
A British government official did not want to confirm any details to the FAZ, but described the “attempt to better explain the British position abroad” as “reasonable”. Efforts should also be stepped up in Berlin and Paris. At the moment, London’s arguments are “not going well internationally”.
The focus of this effort has been on the conflict over the special status of Northern Ireland after Brexit. US President Joe Biden joins the European Union during the exit mission. In London, this was due to his Irish roots and the close relations he had with the government in Dublin. Biden questioned the long-running free trade agreement with the United States in London during the election campaign at the time, when the British threatened to override the exit agreement with a national law last fall.
Conflict eased at the time, but recently Brussels announced legal action, with London unilaterally extending the offer period for certain goods checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. London has not violated this agreement.
“Active against Negative Interpretations”
Biden has repeatedly expressed concern about peace in Northern Ireland and shares readings in Dublin and Brussels that violating the withdrawal agreement will affect the Good Friday agreement. In London, by contrast, the 1998 peace agreement is being undermined by the unintended consequences of the withdrawal agreement.
“If we had not taken the latest steps, we would now have empty supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland,” said Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis. This would have added to the tension on the site. The government official pointed to the “technical and temporary” nature of the move. Problems with the implementation of the agreement will be “better solved if you focus on the details in practice than on turning everything into high politics”.
According to the Telegraph, the new ambassador’s job is to “provide facts to American politicians and refute EU claims about post – Brexit Britain”. This includes Brussels’ critique of the British vaccine campaign. On Wednesday, the government in London protested against a statement by EU Council President Charles Michael Great that Britain had banned the export of vaccines. The Foreign Office appointed an ambassador from the EU Embassy in London.
According to the newspaper, Lewis, who will work in close coordination with the new EU special minister David Frost, has already asked the British ambassador in Washington to face negative interpretations from European diplomats and politicians. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Gowney and EU Vice President Maros Sefovic spoke to US Democrats on Wednesday.
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