Biden, Johnson announce updated Atlantic Charter focused on protecting democracies
President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday announced an update to the Atlantic Charter, a World War II-era document that laid out shared commitments from the U.S. and United Kingdom.
The renewed document contains eight key pledges that cover commitments to the NATO alliance, efforts to improve health systems amid the pandemic, tackle climate change and defend democratic institutions from malign actors.
“Our revitalized Atlantic Charter, building on the commitments and aspirations set out eighty years ago, affirms our ongoing commitment to sustaining our enduring values and defending them against new and old challenges,” the document reads. “We commit to working closely with all partners who share our democratic values and to encountering the efforts of those who seek to undermine our alliances and institutions.”
The two leaders’ commitments focus broadly on strengthening democracies and working with partners to address global challenges. The document was unveiled one day before the Group of Seven (G-7) summit, where Biden and Johnson will be joined by the heads of state of Italy, France, Japan, Germany and Canada.
In the updated charter, the two leaders pledged to defend the principles of democracies and “confront injustice and inequality and defend the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals.”
The leaders also vowed in the charter to strengthen laws and norms that sustain international cooperation; oppose interference through misinformation or other malign influence, including election interference; and invest and develop new technologies to both open new economic markets and foster global cooperation.
The charter also touches on the need to address the climate crisis and build sustainable, climate-friendly economies and advance health protections for citizens, particularly given the global pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide in the last year.
The two men signed the charter during a bilateral meeting that lasted roughly 90 minutes.
The charter underscores the key alliance between the U.S. and United Kingdom and comes at the outset of a trip to Europe where Biden is hoping to reassure foreign leaders that American will resume a leading role on the global stage after four years of the Trump administration’s “America First” foreign policy.
Biden and Johnson spent the early part of their day on Thursday viewing the original Atlantic Charter, which was signed in 1941 by then-President Franklin Roosevelt and then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill that outlined shared goals between the two nations.