As the Brexit trade talks near their conclusion, both the EU and the UK are seeking compromises in order to push a deal over the line. With the EU demanding similar levels of access to UK fishing grounds and a so-called level playing field on regulation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been pushing for more autonomy. In an attempt to break the impasse, the UK attempted to modify its withdrawal agreement with the EU by making changes to the Northern Ireland protocol. The border on the island of Ireland has become a crucial issue, as many have warned it must remain open to maintain peace – as enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement.
The EU launched legal action against the UK for the move, and Mr Biden also intervened to criticise Mr Johnson and co.
The Democrat said in the lead-up to his election victory that peace in Ireland must “not become a casualty” of Brexit.
Mr Biden has also long been an opponent of Brexit, and Democrats’ ill-feeling towards Mr Johnson has left many in the UK fearing Washington will back Brussels in any future disagreements.
German MEP Manfred Weber told Euronews last month that the US election result would hand the EU a huge advantage.
He said: “The message is clear from Trump’s defeat. That is why a lot of populists in Europe have lost their hero.
“The immediate impact will be on the Brexit talks in London. It has got better for us Europeans because Johnson cannot tell the citizens in Great Britain anymore that he will get an immediate trade deal with the Americans.
“Biden was also a clear supporter of the Good Friday Agreement, which will strengthen the Irish position in the talks.
“So this is creating again a positive leverage for us as Europeans in the talks with our British friends.”
Andrew Goodwin, chief UK economist with Oxford Economics, told DW after the vote that Mr Biden will pose “problematic” challenges to the UK as it looks to push its Global Britain agenda.
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He warned that concessions may have to be made in order for a deal to be struck, suggesting Mr Biden’s looming presence will hand Brussels a victory in talks.
He said: “Global Britain seems to be coming up against both political and practical challenges, both of which were always likely to prove problematic.
“Trade deals involve ceding some degree of sovereignty and, given the Government has sent a clear message that it prioritises sovereignty, it was always going to be difficult to make the concessions required to do trade deals.”
This echoed the warning made by Dr Nigel Bowles of Oxford University, who told Express.co.uk that the UK has “no leverage” with the US and would have to make “painful concessions” in order to gain a post-Brexit trade deal with the Biden administration.
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The US politics expert said: “If Boris Johnson wants a trade deal with the US, the agreement he forged with the EU in late 2019 will have to be observed.
“His current approach will not work, and everyone around Boris Johnson knows that.
“I think that the EU and US have all the cards. All the leverage is with them.
“Boris Johnson has already got an agreement from 2019 with the EU, and they will hold him to it and the US will hold them to it.
“Whether Trump or Biden is President, the House of Representatives won’t pass a trade deal with the UK if the EU-UK understanding is overridden.
“I think there is a trade deal to be struck, but there will have to be painful trade-offs on environmental standards, food safety standards. There will be losers.”