Joe Biden Brexit: Why is the President-Elect so concerned about the Good Friday Agreement?

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Joe Biden defeated incumbent Republic President Donald Trump winning 306 electoral college votes to Mr Trump’s 232. On November 14, the Democratic President-Elect claimed victory in the US swing state of Georgia, while Mr Trump won in North Carolina. Experts have claimed the election of Mr Biden will fundamentally change the dynamics of Brexit, in particular the Good Friday Agreement. But why is Mr Biden so concerned about the Good Friday Agreement?

The US election on November 3 saw the biggest voter turnout since 1968, with more than 150 million votes tallied.

Currently, Mr Biden has won more than 79 million votes to Mr Trump’s 73 million.

The Democrat has won enough votes to become the 46th US President, but Mr Trump has yet to concede the election.

The Republican president has repeatedly insisted he will not concede, despite acknowledging Mr Biden won.

He tweeted: “He won because the election was rigged”.

Political commentators have said Democratic President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory will have “big consequences for Brexit”.

Mr Biden has previously made his views about the controversial Brexit bill and the risk it poses to the Good Friday Agreement clear.

Last month Mr Biden tweeted: “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.”

What is the Good Friday Agreement?

The Good Friday Agreement was signed in April 1998 and helped to bring about an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

The Troubles involved violence between Republicans and Loyalists during which many people were killed.

There have been significant tensions between the UK and EU during the Brexit process concerning whether to uphold this decades-old deal and maintain peace in Northern Ireland.

Geopolitical expert Tony Alexiou from the Minotaur Group said the Good Friday Agreement is a key part of a post-Brexit deal.

He told “Ensuring the agreement is adhered to even post-Brexit is important in maintaining peace and stability in the region.

“This must include maintaining a no-customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland which, granted, would make Unionists nervous that this was a move toward uniting the island, the alternative would increase tensions significantly.

“I do believe that everyone understands the importance for this agreement and, before it’s all said and done, will ensure that it’s adhered to in any post-Brexit environment.”

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Mr Alexiou said Mr Biden is especially concerned with the Good Friday agreement because it is essential for continued peace.

He said: “While Mr Biden hasn’t expressly said it, he feels there can’t be a no-deal Brexit.

“Any Brexit deal will need to ensure continued peace in Northern Ireland and a no-Brexit deal can’t guarantee that.

“What happens at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is key to ensuring continued peace.

“The EU provided a seamless border between the two areas and this must continue post-Brexit.”

Donald Trump has long been a strong supporter of Brexit, sharing a strong relationship with prominent Brexiteer Nigel Farage.

Mr Alexiou said: “Donald Trump, like Boris Johnson, is a populist and supports Brexit.

“Trump was prepared to create a trade deal with a post-Brexit UK that could have rivalled what existed for the UK with the EU.

“The calculus of Northern Ireland doesn’t factor in for Trump – it’s not a financial or protectionist issue which gave the impression that Trump was an ally of the British when it came to Northern Ireland.

“But, in my opinion, I think the Irish question didn’t even cross his mind.”

The geopolitical expert added Mr Biden’s Irish ancestry could explain his interest in Brexit.

Mr Alexiou added: “While Biden’s Irish ancestry might play a role, Biden also believes in doing what’s right and looking at the bigger picture.

“Sure, he could support Brexit – that is, in the end, the will of the British people – but he understands what that could mean long term.

“Battles have been fought over the guarded border between the two Irelands in the recent past and a Brexit that doesn’t take that into consideration will destabilize that area, perhaps to what it was in the 1970s and early 1980s.”

Mr Johnson, who is currently self-isolating, has maintained his hard stance when it comes to Brexit.

He has repeatedly maintained his unwillingness to budge to secure a Brexit deal, claiming a no-deal Brexit would be advantageous for Britain.

The expert said the election of Joe Biden as the next US President poses a threat to Mr Johnson’s desire for a hard Brexit.

He said: “By applying pressure to both the Johnson team as well as the EU to create a deal that is good for all aspects of that region.

“Biden intends to reimagine the relationship with both the UK and EU from what it was during the Trump era.

“The expectation is that Biden’s first trip to Europe will not be to London but to Brussels, precisely to help rebuild that relationship as well as lay out what Brexit should look like from an American perspective to the EU.”

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