Atlantic Charter receives lukewarm response from UK travel trade
Prime minister Boris Johnson and US president Joe Biden have agreed a new Atlantic Charter.
The original Atlantic Charter included landmark agreements to promote democracy, free trade and increased opportunity for all.
It was one of the greatest triumphs of UK and US relations and did more than any other agreement to shape the world order, leading directly to the creation of the UN and NATO.
The new Atlantic Charter will outline eight areas where the prime minister and president Biden resolve to work together for the benefit of humanity.
Many of these are based around our enduring values, including defending democracy, reaffirming the importance of collective security, and building a fair and sustainable global trading system, a statement said.
But the charter will also recognise more recent challenges, such as dealing with the threat posed by cyber-attacks, acting urgently on climate change and to protect biodiversity and supporting the world to bring an end to, and recover from, the coronavirus pandemic.
The principled commitments include working to open up travel between the UK and US as soon as possible.
Many people in the UK and US have been prevented from seeing family and friends for over 400 days as a result of coronavirus travel restrictions.
Before the outbreak of coronavirus more than five million Brits visited the US and over 4.5 million Americans visited the UK every year – more than any other country.
Today the prime minister and president Biden agreed to work to relaunch UK-US travel as soon as possible through a new travel taskforce which will make recommendations on safely reopening international travel.
The taskforce will work to explore options for resuming up UK-US travel and ensure that the UK and US closely share thinking and expertise on international travel policy going forward.
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.”
The 1941 Atlantic Charter was devised at sea on board the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and US heavy cruiser USS Augusta.
The modern namesake of HMS Prince of Wales will sail along the coast of Cornwall providing a fitting and auspicious backdrop for the meeting.
The news received a lukewarm response from the industry.
British Airways chief executive, Sean Doyle said: “Prime minister Johnson and president Biden can and should take decisive action, just like their predecessors, and we’re pleased to hear they’re prioritising establishing a travel corridor between our two low-risk countries.
“This announcement is a step in the right direction, but we are now at a critical point and need action without delay, including clear criteria and a timeline.
“Anything other than this could result in tough consequences.”
An ABTA spokesperson added more work needed to be done.
“The US-UK link is incredibly important for business and leisure travel, as well as UK trade, so steps to get travel restarted are very welcome.
“However, there is little in this announcement in terms of detail or timings.
“As we move toward the next review of the traffic-light system, on June 28th, the government needs to make sure that the existing traffic light system is used as intended, and that travel to the some of the most popular foreign holiday destinations is opened up in time for the industry to make the most of the critical summer holiday period.
“Consideration should also be given to capitalising on the success of the UK vaccine rollout by relaxing rules for fully vaccinated individuals when travelling between low-risk areas, as the US, and many other countries, are already doing.”
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