Donald Trump says he won’t attend Joe Biden’s inauguration
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be ready to add new climate change guarantees to his upcoming negotiations with the US in order to “woo” President-elect Joe Biden. Talks are reportedly in “advanced stages,” and more than 50 percent of the deal is believed to be completed after International Trade Secretary Liz Truss declared she wanted it over the line by June. Meanwhile, the EU has agreed on terms to its own investment deal with China following a video call between President Xi Jinping and European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The European Commission dubbed the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) as “the most ambitious agreement China has ever concluded with a third country,” but Chair of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood believes it was signed “prematurely”.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think this was a mistake by the EU – to pursue this without consulting the US and the UK.
“If we are to have a comprehensive and effective strategy towards China then there needs to be cooperation.
“China will be delighted that it has managed to, yet again, drive a wedge between the strategic thinking of the West by signing the EU up to this.
Joe Biden does not appear to approve of Brexit
Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20
“It will now mean the EU is less critical of any aspect of China’s behaviour and that is not where we want to be – particularly with the new occupants of the White House.
“[Joe] Biden wants to rejuvenate and reconsolidate Western resolve in stepping up to the geopolitical threat that China presents.”
Asked if a potential free trade deal with the UK could be more lucrative as a result of the EU’s actions, Mr Ellwood believed it was possible.
But he sent a stark warning over recent actions by the Government.
He added: “We will have to wait and see how the trade deal pans out, but yes.
Joe Biden’s inauguration timeline
“But we need to be more proactive in strengthening our relationship, there is no doubt about that.
“I think it was unwise for the Foreign Secretary [Dominic Raab] to keep Nancy Pelosi waiting for 30 minutes and then drop the call over Christmas.
“That is not how you treat our closest and most important ally.”
The phone call is said to have been postponed to the next day as Mr Raab was embroiled in negotiations with Spain about post-Brexit arrangements for Gibraltar.
But since then, Downing Street has confirmed there are “no plans” for the Prime Minister to attend Mr Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
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Nancy Pelosi is said to have waited 30 minutes to speak to the Government
Mr Raab is understood to want to visit Washington “as soon as possible,” but not before Mr Biden is sworn in.
Relations between Mr Biden and Mr Johnson faltered last year after the presidential candidate joined Ms Pelosi in condemning Mr Johnson for his plan that risked breaking international law by rewriting parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
But Mr Biden’s issues with Brexit go way back to when he was serving in an administration that put itself squarely behind David Cameron’s Remain campaign, notably clashing with Mr Johnson in the process.
In February 2013, Mr Biden said Britain’s EU membership was an important contribution to world peace, prosperity and security.
He told The Times: “We value our essential relationship with the UK, as well as our relationship with the EU, which makes critical contributions to peace, prosperity, and security in Europe and around the world.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is said to be eager to visit Washington
“We believe the UK is stronger as a result of its membership.
“And we believe the EU is stronger with the UK’s involvement. That’s our view.”
Asked again about Britain’s leaving the bloc in 2018, Mr Biden said he would have voted against it if he were a British MP and claimed that US interest would be diminished with Britain out of the EU.
He said: “It seems to me that there is a growing awareness in Europe as a whole and around the world that Britain played a role in Europe over the last 30 years that went well beyond the notion of open borders, trade and all these other things – being able to influence attitudes about things that have nothing to do with the elements of the EU state.”
On the ties between the US and UK, he added: “There is a special relationship, we have been locked cheek and jowl on almost every important issue that exists, and so without England being totally integrated into the EU to the extent that it is distanced from that diminishes our ability to have an influence on events on the continent.
Tobias Ellwood has called for western resolve
“I do believe very strongly that the US’ ability to play a major role in the security of the West and the prosperity of the transatlantic partnership rests in part on Great Britain’s influence in Europe.”
Mr Ellwood believes now is the time to “regroup” and form a strategy to “confront” rising threats like China, strengthening that special relationship in the process.
He concluded: “There is a massive debate to be held of how we manage rising China.
“This is why the EU signing a deal prematurely is actually unhelpful.
“Even our own Integrated Review will recognise the threat that China poses – it’s not a direct military threat, the scale of their growth is too big for us.
“We don’t want to trigger a war. This will be played out in a Cold War scenario through espionage, and pressuring other countries to turn to their way of thinking.
“That is the bipolar world that awaits us unless we are able to regroup as the West and confront it.”