Joe Biden has waded into the Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the EU’s side, signalling that, as President, he would punish the British for not submitting to EU control over the British province of Northern Ireland.
“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” declared Biden, who has previously claimed that “Ireland will be [found] written on my soul” when he dies — although his colonial ancestor William Biden appears to have been an Englishman.
“Any trade deal between the U.S. and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period,” he insisted.
The Good Friday or Belfast Agreement ended the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) campaign of assassinations and terror bombings against the British authorities and civilians including schoolchildren, waged despite a clear majority of Northern Irish voters backing the province’s union with Great Britain in a 1973 referendum.
Its terms included with an agreement that convicted IRA terrorists would be freed and allowing Sinn Fein — the political party regarded by most as the IRA’s political wing — to enter into a power-sharing administration with Northern Ireland’s dominant British Unionist parties.
We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.
Any trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period. https://t.co/Ecu9jPrcHL
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 16, 2020
It has become something of an article of faith among EU sympathisers that any regulatory divergence between the British province of Northern Ireland and the EU member-state of the Republic of Ireland post-Brexit would breach the Good Friday Agreement by creating a so-called “hard border” between them — although it is not actually clear why, given such a border already exists with respect to differing currencies and Value Added Tax (VAT) regimes for goods without the need for a manned frontier.
But the alleged issue is being raised by the EU yet again due to the British government’s efforts to push through legislation that would allow them to disapply aspects of the current Withdrawal Agreement (WA) with the EU if it tries to use it to ban the importation of food to Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
The WA keeps Northern Ireland under the EU’s thumb with respect to regulations and state aid rules int the event of the UK and EU not agreeing a trade deal by the end of 2020 — a concession by the British in the name of maintaining the open border.
It is feared than “abusive” and “extreme” interpretations of this provision by the EU which would allow it to effectively blockade food travelling from one part of the UK to another and extend the EU’s control over state aid from Northern Ireland to businesses in Great Britain proper if they do business in the province is being used as leverage in the negotiations, necessitating the legislation for new powers to prevent this.
The fact that Biden is signalling his support for the EU amid the dispute, by threatening that he will block a British-American trade deal if he wins the presidency, has been viewed by Brexiteers such as Nigel Farage as evidence that he would be “an anti-British” president.
We can see that Biden would be an anti-British US President. Wake up everyone. https://t.co/rxk3z3V1Wh
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 17, 2020