Biden and Sunak unveil Atlantic Declaration boosting defence, renewable energy ties

The United States and the United Kingdom have unveiled the Atlantic Declaration, a new economic agreement aimed at strengthening ties in defence and renewable energy. This announcement took place during UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s first visit to the White House. The agreement, however, does not encompass a full free trade deal that the UK has been seeking since its departure from the European Union.

The joint statement highlights the commitment of both nations to creating resilient, diversified, secure supply chains and reducing strategic dependencies on countries like China and Russia. Sunak dismissed the notion that the new partnership’s agreements on strategic technologies, export controls, and data sharing signalled a failure in pursuing a free trade deal with the US.

A significant component of the framework, as emphasised by US President Joe Biden, is the decision to negotiate strengthening the critical mineral supply chain. Both leaders expressed their dedication to working together on regulating artificial intelligence (AI), with Sunak announcing the UK’s hosting of the first global summit on the issue. Despite the UK’s exit from the EU, Sunak aims to establish the country as a leader in addressing rapid AI developments.

During the talks in Washington, DC, Biden and Sunak also discussed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, stressing the importance of Western countries continuing to support Kyiv. The US and the UK are the largest donors to Ukraine’s war effort and are central to the long-term project of training and equipping Ukrainian pilots with F-16 fighter jets.

The future leadership of NATO was also addressed, as Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s term ends in October. Sunak has been a vocal supporter of UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for the post, but the prime ministers of Denmark and Estonia are also seen as contenders. Biden noted that a consensus within NATO would be necessary.

Both leaders praised the AUKUS partnership, an agreement between the US, UK, and Australia which will see Australia acquire at least three US nuclear submarines. This partnership is widely viewed as an effort to counter Chinese military power in the Pacific. They also promised to work towards strengthening the Good Friday Agreement, which sought to end decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.

During their meeting, Sunak presented Biden with relics of his English ancestry, including a copy of Biden’s great-great-grandfather Christopher Biden’s book, Naval Discipline: Subordination Contrasted with Insubordination. Biden, who has both Irish and English heritage, referred to the 19th-century sailor’s book as the royal navy’s guide to combating mutiny during a trip to Ireland in April.

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Matthew Coles

Matthew is a British journalist with a unique flair in reporting about the latest news and events happening in Europe. Matthew focuses on producing well-researched, balanced, and narrative-driven content related to both national and regional interests across various European countries. He is passionate about discovering the diverse cultures found within Europe and showcasing them through his insightful articles.

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