US President Joe Biden Arrives in UK Ahead of G7 Summit
- US President Joe Biden arrived in the UK on Wednesday on Air Force One, kickstarting an eight-day European trip
- The European schedule includes a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
- The three-day G7 Summit will commence Friday 11th June in Cornwall
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to push ‘Global Britain’ agenda at G7 Summit
- The US President will meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson today to sign a post-COVID Atlantic charter
- President Biden’s ‘worker first’ policies essential for global economic recovery
US President Joe Biden has arrived in the UK ahead of the G7 Summit in Cornwall on Friday. President Biden arrived on Air Force One on Wednesday in his first overseas trip since his inauguration back in January 2021, beginning an eventful eight-day trip across Europe.
Mr Biden landed in Mildenhall, Suffolk, alongside his wife Jill and was welcomed by US Air Force personnel. Mildenhall is a significant location as it is home to the 100th Air Refuelling Wing, which is the only US Air Force air refuelling wing in Europe.
In addition to tomorrow’s G7 Summit, the US President will also meet with the Queen at Windsor Castle after the Summit ends on Sunday before heading to Brussels to join the NATO Summit, followed by a joint US-EU summit. Finally, Mr Biden will depart for Geneva to commence discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
First on the agenda, however, is the US President’s meeting today with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss pressing issues, most notably the Northern Ireland Protocol. Today’s meeting will be the first time the US President and UK Prime Minister have met face to face.
Speaking with the Washington Post, President Biden stated that the European trip is all about ‘realising America’s renewed commitment to our allies and partners. Mr Biden will build bridges with the UK and EU leaders such as Angela Merkel following difficulties experienced with former US President Donald Trump. Mr Trump previously clashed with the EU, engaging in bitter trade confrontations and criticised NATO members for not raising their budgets on defence.
It’s hoped that today’s meeting between President Biden and the UK Prime Minister will help to strengthen the UK/US’ special relationship‘.
Joe Biden and Boris Johnson prepare to sign a new Atlantic charter
The UK Government has labelled Joe Biden’s decision to make the UK his first port of call during his European trip as a diplomatic victory. Since his electoral victory last year, Boris Johnson has spoken highly of President Biden and hopes to establish a new free trade deal with the US imminently.
Mr Biden and Mr Johnson will look to sign a ‘new Atlantic charter’. The term refers to UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D Roosevelt in 1941 when they conducted their post-war co-operation declaration. The two sides will cover various topics during the meeting, including the safe resumption of international travel, reducing disruptions between UK and US tech firms, and resolving US/UK trade disputes.
Travel between the UK and US came to a halt as the coronavirus pandemic swept its way across the globe. However, the two sides will work towards the relaunch of a UK/US travel corridor where vaccinated individuals will not have to quarantine through the help of a new task force.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will oversee the task force and will be chaired by the US counterparts. UK/US travel resumption will be a high priority, given that 5 million UK citizens visited the US each year before the coronavirus pandemic and 4.5 million US citizens visiting the UK.
However, there are concerns of a possible clash between the two leaders during the highly anticipated meeting given Mr Johnson’s close relationship with Donald Trump. The close relations sparked comments from President Biden that Boris Johnson was an ’emotional clone’ of the former US President. Mr Johnson hit back at previous criticisms of the relationship, arguing that Prime Ministers should always establish strong ties with the US President.
However, there were positive signs for the UK/US special relationship earlier this year when Mr Biden’s envoy for climate change, John Kerry, spoke with the UK Prime Minister back in March. Relations were also strengthened when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Washington had ‘no closer partner’ than the UK back in May.
Mr Johnson declared his dislike of the term’ special relationship’, believing it to depict the UK as needy and weak. Instead, he favoured the phrase ‘the closest of partners and the greatest of allies’ to describe the UK/US relationship.
Reports this week have indicated that a primary topic of discussion during the meeting between the US President and the UK Prime Minister will be the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol. The UK Government sparked outrage amongst the EU when they decided to extend their grace period of goods entering Northern Ireland from the UK earlier this year. Declaring the move as unlawful, the EU stated that they would proceed with legal action unless the UK agree to reverse their decision.
Being of Irish heritage, President Biden is set to pressure Boris Johnson to honour the agreement with the EU. Mr Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, confirmed Biden’s belief that the Northern Ireland Protocol coincides with the Good Friday Agreement, of which the US acted as guarantor. The message of protecting the Good Friday Agreement is likely to be a highlight during tomorrow’s G7 Summit.
Boris Johnson to push ‘Global Britain’ agenda G7 Summit
Tomorrow will see the G7 Summit commence at Carbis Bay in Cornwall, consisting of the ‘group of 7’ (G7) countries, including the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and Italy. Many topics will be high on the agenda, from climate change to delivering vaccines to developing countries.
For UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the G7 Summit will be an opportunity to highlight his Global Britain agenda as the UK attempts to build its independence post-Brexit. This week’s drama surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol will also be in focus as Boris Johnson and Lord Frost are set to engage in discussions with the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen.
However, in the days leading up to the Summit, the UK Prime Minister has encountered difficulties amongst the Conservative party over decisions to slash spending on international aid from 0.7% to 0.5%. The decision led former UK Prime Minister Theresa May to comment that the move damages the UK’s reputation, making it more difficult to fight for change globally.
Climate change also looks to be of particular focus as it’s expected that Extinction Rebellion activists, a global environmental movement, will be protesting at the Summit. The protests will aim to encourage political leaders to do more to solve climate change issues as it’s revealed that protestors from Kill the Bill, a movement against the police, will be present. As a result, security will be bolstered, with over 6,500 officers in operation across the area.
President Biden declared during yesterday’s speech that coordinated multilateral action is required to overcome issues faced by climate change. Mr Biden highlighted the importance of diplomacy and countries working together to tackle the world’s most pressing issues.
Biden prepares for meeting with Putin
As President Biden declared the importance of forming alliances, he is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to conclude his European trip. During his recent speech, Mr Biden noted that the US does not seek to resume conflict with Russia but would be assertive in any instances that harm US interests. The US President highlighted that the US alliance with Russia is based on shared ideals and visions of the future and will aim to maintain a predictable but stable relationship with the country.
The upcoming meeting between the US and Russia follows a series of cyberattacks impacting US entities, which have since been traced back to Russian criminal organisations. Mr Biden previously stated that Russia would ‘pay the price’ as US intelligence discovered Russian interference in the 2020 US election, intending to belittle Biden as a Presidential candidate.
In addition to Russian cyber-attacks, the US and Russian President will also discuss issues such as arms control, the Russian/Ukraine conflict and the imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Whilst President Joe Biden appears optimistic about his discussions with the Russian President, Mr Putin has moderated his expectations for the US/Russian meeting.
Are Biden’s worker first policies central to global economic recovery?
Since the beginning of his Presidency at the start of 2021, Joe Biden has operated worker first policies from the outset. The United States was one of the most impacted countries from COVID-19, experiencing a total of over 33.4 million infections and 598,000 deaths. US unemployment was particularly prominent during the coronavirus pandemic, with jobless rates hitting 14.8% during April 2020. Unemployment rates in the US today, however, have reached a new low for the coronavirus pandemic, hitting 5.8%.
President Biden made clear during his inauguration that US unemployment would be a priority. Mr Biden immediately revealed a USD 1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package plans to strengthen the US economy and policies such as The American Jobs plan, creating 19 million jobs across the US.
global economic outlook is improving, unemployment remains a significant threat to countries worldwide. It has been argued that the remaining G7 countries should implement US-style stimulus in a bid to solve the ongoing threat of mass unemployment and operating a pro-worker stance.
New set of stimulus cheques issued to US citizens
In line with President Biden’s coronavirus stimulus measures, USD 4.2 billion worth of checks have been issued to select US citizens this week. The latest round of cheques for USD 1,400 have been set to individuals as part of President Biden’s commitment to providing financial support across the US during the coronavirus crisis.
Since Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act back in March, over USD 395 billion payments have been issued to Americans so far.
The economic outlook for the US has improved significantly as the World Bank confirmed this week that US gross Domestic Product (GDP) is likely to see 6.8% growth in 2021. US stimulus measures have undoubtedly supported the upgraded forecast and greater distribution of coronavirus vaccines across the US.
Furthermore, coronavirus cases across the US have dipped dramatically since April 2021, falling to 15,059 cases on 8th June, down from 80,450 on 8th April. While the overall economic outlook has become more optimistic, market analysts are concerned about the Delta variant’s rise and the potential impact on major economies. The Delta variant currently accounts for 6% of all coronavirus infections in the United States and up to 18% of cases in some Western US states.
With a better distribution of coronavirus vaccines across the US and significant financial support from the US Government, it’s hopeful that the economic damage from the Delta variant will be minimal, highlighting US economic resilience.