‘Clown or statesman, which PM has UK woken up to?’ – European press react to Tory victory

Brexit appears to be prism through which majority of newspapers view election victory

 Boris Johnson arrives back at 10 Downing Street after visiting Buckingham Palace where he was given permission to form the next government during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II on Friday. Photograph: Stefan Rosseau/ WPA Pool/Getty Images

Boris Johnson arrives back at 10 Downing Street after visiting Buckingham Palace where he was given permission to form the next government during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II on Friday. Photograph: Stefan Rosseau/ WPA Pool/Getty Images

 

Boris Johnson extending his stay at Downing Street — and its wider implications - make headlines around the world on Saturday.

Many papers described the size of Mr Johnson’s victory as a “landslide”, while columnists have been given plenty to mull over following the poll win.

Brexit appears to be the prism through which the majority of newspapers and their editorials view the election victory, as Mr Johnson promised the departure will take place by January 31st.

In France, Le Monde says the focus is now on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

Its editorial says: “It’s now up to Europeans to stick together and guide them to the right choice: preserving as closer links as possible with its neighbours rather than let them carry out their threat of turning the UK into a dumping paradise at the gates of Europe.”

Liberation offers up a double-header of British references on its front page — sticking Mr Johnson’s head on the Queen’s body and running the headline “Let It Be”.

To Germany, and Suddeutsche Zeitung’s head of foreign policy Stefan Kornelius writes that Mr Johnson “had it easy”, calling Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn “the main campaigner of the Tories”.

He writes: “The idea of a choice is that — well: you have a choice. The British didn’t really have a choice.

“Nobody showed them the path that would have led them out of the deep undergrowth of Brexit.”

On the future negotiations, he adds: “The EU must now stand by its principles more than ever: no softening of the internal market, no light membership.

“That will be at the expense of the Irish, probably true. But if the British overruled rules of the internal market or undermined standards, the EU’s central vault would collapse.”

The country’s biggest online news site, Der Spiegel, was more succinct: “The turkeys voted for Christmas,” it said. Johnson had won big and could rule uncontested, it said, “but what has been lost is decency, sincerity and integrity”.

Eirin Hurum, the European correspondent for Norwegian paper Aftenposten, asks “clown or statesman, which prime minister has the UK woken up to?”

She writes that Mr Johnson may be troubled by the “whole new landscape of voters” in areas the Tories may not have reached previously.

“These include voters from northern England who are concerned about minimum wage rates and social safety nets,” she writes.

“They expect Boris Johnson to spend public money on infrastructure and investment outside London, and he takes them seriously.

“Among the voters are also small industry leaders and factory workers who work in the large automotive industry in northern England. For these, it is not unimportant that the UK still has access to European markets.”

In Spain, El País wrote: “Boris Johnson wins an overwhelming victory that clears the way for Brexit. El País’s London correspondent, Rafa de Miguel, noted that, for all his personality and popularity, Mr Johnson remains something of a “blank page”.–PA