Boris Johnson and Joe Biden’s new Atlantic Charter vows to revive travel between Britain and the US ‘as soon as possible’.
Links between the two countries have suffered significant disruption during the coronavirus crisis, and the two leaders want to agree a fix to allow more flights to resume in the near future.
A new travel taskforce to make recommendations on how to safely reopen routes will be set up as the UK and US ‘closely share thinking and expertise’ on the best method for bringing back international travel.
In a highly symbolic act, the Prime Minister and President revived the original charter signed by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, which is credited with laying the foundations for the post-war settlement.
Mr Biden said the world was at ‘an inflection point in history’, adding: ‘A moment where it falls to us to prove that democracies will not just endure – they will excel as we rise to seize the enormous opportunities of this new age.’
He said the charter would address the ‘key challenges of this century – cybersecurity, emerging technologies, global health and climate change’.
The new charter states that the UK and the US will ‘defend key principles such as freedom of navigation and overflight and other internationally lawful uses of the seas’.
Britain and the US have now agreed in the new document to work to resume travel between the two countries ‘as soon as possible’.
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden today agreed a new grandiose ‘Atlantic Charter’ setting out their joint vision for the world’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis and future prosperity
The Prime Minister said the new charter will ‘form the foundation of a sustainable global recovery’ as he and the US President promised the world a ‘better future’
The original ‘Atlantic Charter’ was hammered out by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 and acted as a blueprint for life after the Second World War
The original charter was hammered out by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 and acted as a guiding blueprint for life after the Second World War.
Mr Johnson said that Churchill and Roosevelt had faced the question of how to rebuild after a ‘devastating’ global conflict.
He said he and Mr Biden in 2021 now face the ‘very different but no less intimidating challenge’ of bouncing back from the pandemic as the pair look to copy from two political figures who dominated large parts of the 20th Century.
The Prime Minister said the new charter will ‘form the foundation of a sustainable global recovery’ as he and the US President promised the world a ‘better future’.
The new accord contains many of the same themes as the original which was devised on board the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and US heavy cruiser USS Augusta off the coast of Newfoundland as Churchill and Roosevelt met face-to-face for the first time since the outbreak of the war.
The two nations have once again committed to improving security, boosting trade and defending democracy.
But the use of the phrase ‘Atlantic Charter’ has raised eyebrows among some historians who said the new agreement will ‘pale by comparison’ to the original and it is ‘likely to remain a mere historical footnote’.
Below is a breakdown of how the two agreements compare.
Resuming travel links between the UK and the US is one of the main goals set out in the new charter. An arrivals board is shown at Heathrow Airport on July 29
Rebuild and recover
Winning the Second World War and putting the planet on a path to peace were the main goals of Churchill and Roosevelt when they agreed their charter in 1941.
The original charter stated the US and the UK would seek no territorial gains from the conflict and they wanted to see ‘no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned’.
Their focus was on getting the world back on its feet after it was ravaged by war.
What was the original ‘Atlantic Charter’ and why was it important?
The Atlantic Charter took the form of a statement issued on August 14, 1941.
It was the result of face-to-face talks between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and set out their post-Second World War goals.
The statement was devised on board the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and US heavy cruiser USS Augusta off the coast of Newfoundland as Churchill and Roosevelt met in person for the first time since they both took office and since the start of the conflict.
The ‘charter’ set out eight points and joint principles on a range of issues like security, trade and peace.
The two leaders said they ‘deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future of the world’.
The original charter is viewed as historically significant because it solidified the US-UK relationship as allies.
It also laid the groundwork for the creation of the United Nations and the NATO military alliance.
The major focus of Mr Johnson and Mr Biden’s new charter is defeating the coronavirus crisis and preventing further global health crises.
To achieve these goals, the two men agreed to ‘scale up joint work on genomic sequencing and variant assessments’ and to work together on a new global surveillance system.
This will see the UK Health Security Agency’s new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness establishing a working relationship with its US counterpart, the proposed National Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics.
The new charter states: ‘We recognise the catastrophic impact of health crises, and the global good in strengthening our collective defences against health threats.
‘We commit to continuing to collaborate to strengthen health systems and advance our health protections, and to assist others to do the same.
Mr Johnson said: ‘While Churchill and Roosevelt faced the question of how to help the world recover following a devastating war, today we have to reckon with a very different but no less intimidating challenge – how to build back better from the coronavirus pandemic.’