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Will EU UK relations improve post Johnson?

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Boris Johnson has annihilated the standing of Britain on the world stage.

There is much skepticism in the EU that relations between the 27-nation bloc and Britain will improve once Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves office.

Apparently senior officials inside the European Commission are not celebrating the news that Boris Johnson is to leave number 10 Downing Street, there is a belief that his successor will still want to break key elements of the Brexit agreement relating to Northern Ireland.

The political developments do not change our position on the protocol or the way in which we work with our British counterparts or Northern Ireland. Our position is that we should endeavor to seek solutions on the implementation of the protocol and that's it.

Daniel Ferrie, EU_UK Affairs Spokesperson

The EU accuses the British government of breaking international law by moving to scrap the Northern Ireland protocol which is designed to preserve peace in Ireland by preventing physical border checks.

Senior EU law maker and former Brexit coordinator of the European parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, has tweeted, "Boris Johnson's reign ends in disgrace just like his friend Donald Trump, the end of an era of trans-Atlantic populism Let's hope so. EU-UK relations suffered hugely with Johnson's choice of Brexit things can only get better”.

Those we have been speaking to were less optimistic.

The new prime minister would carry on more or less the same policy as Boris Johnson with one difference that maybe he would be a bit more honest with the British citizens.

Elijah Magnier, Political Risk Analyst

Members of the public in Brussels have been telling us what they think about Johnson's political demise.

I don't think he was the cause of the problem between EU and UK but he didn't help solve it.

EU Citizen 01

I don't think the position (on the) Northern Ireland protocol will change much unless there's a snap election and then say like Labour take over something. I don't think there'll be any change.

EU Citizen 02

Former EU Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has tweeted the departure of Boris Johnson opens a new page in relations with Britain.

Might it be more constructive, more respectful of commitments made in particular regarding peace and stability in Northern Ireland and more friendly with partners in the EU?

We asked the European Commission spokespeople if the EU's legal action against the British government over Northern Ireland might be paused, now that Johnson is leaving the stage.

The response was a simple, a resounding "No".

 


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