PLYMOUTH, England – President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will seek to ease restrictions on Covid-19 travel as part of a comprehensive Atlantic Charter ahead of this week’s Group of Seven meeting, according to Mr Johnson’s cabinet.
The charter, a reef of a historic joint statement made by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 as their vision of a post-World War II democratic world, will be presented on Thursday. The meeting will be the first between the leaders of the two nations since Mr Biden was elected.
Following Thursday’s meeting, Messrs. Biden and Johnson are expected to announce the formation of a working group to resume travel between the United States and Britain as soon as possible.
The pandemic stops most global travel, including between the two countries. As more people are vaccinated, countries around the world are removing restrictions by allowing business and leisure travel.
In March 2020, then-President Donald Trump banned most travel to the United States from Britain by non-citizens. In recent months, major airlines have called on the Biden administration to lift the restrictions.
A White House official said earlier this week that the Biden administration was “launching a series of expert working groups with four key partners: Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to determine how best to open the trip safely.”
The announcement comes as Britain struggles with the new variant Covid-19, which has led to an increase in the incidence of the disease in the country. Mr Biden warned of the dangers of the option, urging young people in the United States to be vaccinated. “This is the best way to protect yourself and those you love,” he wrote on Twitter this week.
The UK government has imposed strict rules on coronavirus, including testing and quarantine requirements, ahead of the G7 summit of world leaders in Cornwall on Friday.
Mr Biden’s meeting with Mr Johnson comes at the start of an eight-day European tour with three countries, during which the US President is expected to emphasize the importance of democratic nations in countering autocracies such as Russia and China.
Since Britain left the European Union, its alliance with the United States has become even more important. Closer trade and security ties with the United States are seen as a reward that can be waved when Britain withdraws from the EU.
The Atlantic Charter promises, among other things, to reduce the barriers faced by British technology companies investing in the United States, to strengthen pandemic preparedness cooperation and intelligence sharing.
“The agreements that President Biden and I will enter into today, rooted in our common values and perspectives, will form the basis of a sustainable global recovery. Eighty years ago, the American president and the British prime minister stood together, promising a better future. We are doing the same today, “Mr Johnson said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Having spent decades on the world stage, Mr Biden has close ties with several prominent European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Not so with Mr. Johnson.
Mr Johnson had spent time diligently and successfully appropriating the Trump administration, which in turn became a vocal supporter of Brexit. British officials were relieved when Mr Johnson received one of the first phone calls from Mr Biden after his election.
However, Mr Biden is expected to raise questions about whether Britain is sticking to a complex post-Brexit deal aimed at keeping peace in Northern Ireland.
Mr Johnson, who once wrote a book about Winston Churchill, does not like to use the term “special relationship” to describe his country’s alliance with the United States, saying it makes Britain seem very needy.
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It appeared in the print edition on June 10, 2021, as “The United States, the United Kingdom is seeking to reopen travel.”