EU leaders congratulate Boris Johnson on UK election result

Written by Martin Banks on 13 December 2019 in News
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The leaders of the European Parliament and Council as well as Parliament group leaders have welcomed the “clarity” the UK election brings in the long-running Brexit saga.

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual


After Boris Johnson’s re-election as British Prime Minister following a landslide victory, EU leaders showed their desire to move ahead with the business of Brexit.

European Parliament President David Sassoli said, "I congratulate Boris Johnson on his success in yesterday's vote. We now expect the new UK Parliament to quickly approve the agreement with the EU to allow an orderly Brexit by the 31st of January 2020. Once it is approved on the UK side, the European Parliament stands ready to vote on it in January.”

“We will be vigilant in the implementation of the agreements, particularly concerning the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens in other Member States.”


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“The European Parliament hopes for very close future relations between the EU and the UK and will continue to act responsibly during the new negotiation phase, respecting the founding values and principles of our Union and firmly defending the interests of European citizens and states.”

On Friday, EU leaders of the 27 remaining Member States reconvened in Brussels to formally instruct Council President Charles Michel to rapidly prepare a negotiating mandate for talks on the post- Brexit future relationship with the UK.

Speaking at the summit, Michel said EU leaders were “ready for the next steps.”

Congratulating Johnson, Michel said, “We expect a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement as soon as possible. The EU is ready for the next phase. We will negotiate a future trade deal which ensures a true level playing field.”

“We will be vigilant in the implementation of the agreements, particularly concerning the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens in other Member States” David Sassoli, European Parliament President

EPP leader Manfred Weber welcomed the outcome of the UK election, saying, “It is good to have clarity for the first time in years.”

“We are looking forward to the swift adoption of our agreement in the House of Commons. Brexit is a mistake, but short-term pain is better than long-term pain. Let’s get it done.”

He added, “The new Prime Minister wants to get an UK-EU trade deal done in one year. We are ready for a good relationship but one thing is very clear: the European Union will protect its interests in the negotiations.”

“We need the UK as a strong partner, but being outside the EU means losing the benefits of EU membership, also because the future trade deal will define the future relationships of other non-member countries with the EU,” he said.

“The European Parliament and all other parliaments in Europe will need to approve a trade deal. The UK has to accept a level playing field to get access to the Single Market. Negotiations on any trade agreement will be much more complicated than the Brexit agreement,” Weber concluded.

GUE/NGL co-leader Martin Schirdewan said, “Today is a sad day for people living in Britain.”

“We expect a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement as soon as possible. The EU is ready for the next phase. We will negotiate a future trade deal which ensures a true level playing field” Charles Michel, European Council President

“It is bitterly disappointing that the message of hope has not carried in the face of a dirty and dishonest campaign by the Conservatives.”

“Voters who had voted for change, for an end to austerity, for social and tax justice, will now have to endure a government bent on social inequality, deregulation, discrimination and xenophobia.”

“It is also now clear that Britain will be leaving the EU at the end of January. As the Left in the European Parliament, we will continue to hold the British government to their commitments under the Good Friday Agreement.”

“Furthermore, we will protect the interests of people across the EU in the negotiations on the future relationship. We will also seek to safeguard the interests of the people in Britain and will work with the broader labour movement and progressive forces in Britain to this end,” Schirdewan added.

Also commenting on the vote’s impact on Brexit, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said, “The people in the North of Ireland want to remain in the EU. The result of this election shows that the only way that this can happen is through Irish unity - a referendum on which is guaranteed under The Good Friday Agreement.”

“We are looking forward to the swift adoption of our agreement in the House of Commons. Brexit is a mistake, but short-term pain is better than long-term pain. Let’s get it done” Manfred Weber

Meanwhile, former UK Europe Minister Denis MacShane said, “There are hard lessons for Europe and wider geopolitics in the British election. Donald Trump was the first world leader to congratulate Boris Johnson whom he described as a “Britain Trump” when Johnson was running to win the Tory leadership in the summer.”

“It is a mammoth win for populism, nationalism, and white working class identity politics.”

“Like ‘people’s democracies’ of old, Johnson claims he is leading “The People’s Government” – the new slogan of the Conservatives unveiled at his victory rally on the morning after the election. This is the language not just of Trump but of Viktor Orban in Hungary or Jarosław Kaczynski in Poland, where the leader claims an organic mystic relationship with the “people” that transcends left or right politics.

“Nationalism triumphed in Scotland and in Northern Ireland where, for the first time, nationalist MPs turned as much to Dublin as to London, outnumbering unionist, protestant MPs."

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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