HDoes the post-Brexit dispute between London and Brussels have a transatlantic dimension? The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that the British government had launched a “counterattack” in the United States to gain more support there. A special envoy should be sent to the embassy in Washington in order to “counter the European Union’s efforts to bring the Biden administration against the United Kingdom.”
A British government official did not want to confirm any details of the FAZ, but described the “attempt to better explain the British position abroad” as “reasonable”. Efforts should also be increased in Berlin and Paris. For the time being, London’s arguments “are not going well internationally”.
The initiative focuses on the struggle over the special status of Northern Ireland after Brexit. US President Joe Biden stood by the European Union during the exit process. In London, this is also attributed to his Irish roots and close ties to the government in Dublin. When the British threatened to revoke the exit pact last fall, Biden questioned the free trade agreement with America that London had been yearning for during the election campaign at the time.
The conflict was defused at the time, but Brussels recently announced legal action after London unilaterally extended the grace period for some cargo checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. London sees no violation of the agreement on this.
“Proactive against negative briefings”
Biden has repeatedly expressed concern about peace in Northern Ireland and shares the Dublin and Brussels readings that violating the Withdrawal Treaty would jeopardize the Good Friday Agreement. In London, the opposite is claimed, that is, the 1998 peace agreement is being undermined by the unintended consequences of the withdrawal treaty.
Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis said, “If we had not taken the last measures, we would now have had empty supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland.” This would have increased tensions at the site. The government official referred to the “technical and temporary” nature of the measure. Treaty implementation problems could be “better resolved if you focus in action on details rather than simplifying everything in high politics.”
According to the Telegraph, the mission of the new envoy is to “provide American politicians with facts and refute the European Union’s claims about post-Brexit Britain.” This also includes Brussels’ criticism of the British vaccination campaign. On Wednesday, the government in London protested an allegation by European Union Council President Charles Michel that Great Britain had imposed a ban on the export of vaccines. The Foreign Ministry even hired an envoy from the European Union embassy in London.
According to newspaper reports, Lewis, who will work in close coordination with the new EU Special Minister David Frost, is said to have already asked the British ambassador to Washington to counter the negative briefing given by European diplomats and politicians more “proactively”. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and Vice President of the European Union Commission Marusch Cjevicevic spoke to the US Democrats on Wednesday.