Biden fires warning against ‘guarded’ Irish border post-Brexit

President-elect Joe Biden has said his forthcoming administration does not want to see a “guarded border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after the Brexit transition period ends.

Biden said he had been speaking to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and officials in France and elsewhere to lend support to a deal on the matter.

“We do not want a guarded border… We’ve worked too hard to get Ireland worked out,” Biden said, speaking to reporters on 25 November.

“The idea of having the border, north and south, once again be closed… It’s just not right, we’ve got to keep the border open.”

The president-elect’s statement comes as he finalises the appointments for those in his transition team, as he prepares to move into the White House in January.

On 24 November Biden unveiled key hires across national security, diplomacy and environmental policy. He was also given approval from the White House to begin receiving the same daily intelligence briefings as President Donald Trump, to ensure he is adequately informed once he takes office on 20 January.

In Brussels, talks are ongoing on hammering out the final sticking points of a Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU.

Negotiations were temporarily suspended over the weekend as one member of the EU team tested positive for coronavirus, but started again virtually on 23 November.

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Analysts at JPMorgan have put the chance of the two sides coming to an agreement at 80%, with the border in Ireland and the fate of the government’s Internal Markets Bill still posing an issue.

Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen are expected to have a call this week to discuss the matter, albeit virtually as Johnson remains in self-isolation.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

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