Boris Johnson: What does the world make of UK PM’s exit?

What analysts passed comments

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: Boris Johnson’s almost three years in Downing Street have included their fair share of turbulent world events: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Covid pandemic and, of course, Brexit to name three. So how is his resignation being seen around the world? Our correspondents give us the views from their regions:

Is the EU rubbing its hands with glee at Boris Johnson’s downfall? Yes – but also no.

Over the last 24 hours, I’ve been getting texts and calls from EU diplomats, filled with multiple question and exclamation marks. European media headlines drip disdain and incredulity at what they view as a political opera buffa (slapstick opera performance) currently unfolding in the UK.

But the EU view has often been one of impatient disappointment that Mr Johnson lasted so long as prime minister.

A number of European countries – particularly those in central and eastern Europe – are exceedingly grateful to Boris Johnson for his hardline stance on Russia, even before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But they believe that to be a UK position that will hold even after he is no longer prime minister. Few in mainland Europe will shed a tear when Mr Johnson goes. Politicians blame him for blustering his way through Brexit. They accuse him of failing to be honest with the British people about its true implications.

Wholesale rejection of Mr Johnson’s bill currently making its way through parliament, to unilaterally rewrite the international post-Brexit treaty on Northern Ireland, has managed to unite the normally bickering EU institutions: the Commission, Parliament and Council.

That said, no one I’ve spoken to in Brussels sounds particularly hopeful as to who may eventually take over from Mr Johnson as UK prime minister. Most here say they view the plethora of resignations of Conservative ministers as self-interested career-saving attempts, rather than evidence they disagree with Mr Johnson’s policies.

Not even opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer talks about reversing Brexit, or noticeably softening it.

The main EU hope expressed today is the same I heard immediately after the 2016 Brexit vote: EU politicians wish for a UK leader, they say, who has the political confidence to talk and negotiate with Brussels, rather than constantly playing to, and being distracted by, the political gallery at home.




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