Hardline Brexiteers take over in London

Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to strike a new deal for Brexit. After taking office he replaced most of his cabinet with Brexit hardliners. The UK will leave the EU on 31 October with 'no ifs or buts', he said. What can we expect from the path Johnson has embarked on?

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La Repubblica (IT) /

The Disunited Kingdom

Johnson travels to Scotland today to promote the cohesion of the United Kingdom. This mission is unlikely to be successful, La Repubblica comments:

“In addition to his role as prime minister Johnson has assumed the role of 'Minister of the Union' to underline his commitment to keeping the four regions that make up his country together. The paradox is that he risks going down in history as the opposite: the author of British disunity. ... Because there can be no doubt that the traumatic consequence of Brexit would be the transformation of the United Kingdom into the Disunited Kingdom, of Great Britain into Little England. ... Blinded by populist anger the majority of the Conservatives have said they are willing to lose Scotland and Northern Ireland if it means they can leave the detested EU.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

The British must decide their own fate

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung believes that with his hard Brexit course Johnson knowingly accepts the idea of an early election:

“Johnson is clearly betting on the fact that as an uncompromising Brexiteer he has better chances of winning. That may be the case, but it also may not. It's a game, like everything in this man's political life. The European Union will have to live with that. ... But why should it make concessions against its own interests when it's not at all clear how long the government will last? ... The British must now take their fate into their own hands. The House of Commons can stop the prime minister at any time. Then 46 million citizens rather than 90,000 Conservative party members will have the say. Europe would do well not to get mixed up in this.”

The Sun (GB) /

A flying start

Boris's first day as Prime Minister will mark the dawn of a new era, The Sun hopes:

“Boris's many tedious critics may roll their eyes at his ambition for Britain as 'the greatest place on Earth' by 2050. But how much more powerful it is than Mrs May's cautious defeatism. And how much more seductive to voters than Corbyn's absurd caricature of our great country as a Dickensian nightmare where Tory toffs herd the poor to food banks while 'selling our NHS to Trump'. Fewer and fewer are buying it. ... Yes, we are still in his honeymoon period and a mountain of problems lies ahead. But Boris is off to a flier.”

El Mundo (ES) /

This ain't the Wild West

It won't be long before Johnson realises just how much opposition he faces, El Mundo predicts:

“Johnson has surrounded himself with hardcore Eurosceptic ministers to avoid any cracks in his battle cry to Brussels. But no matter how tough a show he puts on, he won't have an easy time securing the support of the Tories who time after time have voted against a no-deal Brexit. And then there's the 27 EU members facing him as a united block. They told May there was nothing more to negotiate and they can't give in to the blackmailing of a Boris Johnson who is acting as if the laws of the Wild West apply.”

Radio Europa Liberă (RO) /

At a dead-end

The Brexit referendum in 2016 caused a deep rift in British society, comments Traian Ungureanu of Romania's National Liberal Party on Radio Europa Liberă:

“The perfect democratic, legal and legitimate result was promptly overruled by those who - in line with the long democratic tradition in the Kingdom - should have respected and acted on the wishes of the electorate. The majority of the opinion pages, the universities and the art world, the bureaucratic elite and the parliament refused to accept the result of the referendum. This is because their interests depend on the legal, ideological and financial system of the EU and not on the nation they are supposed to serve. ... Three years after the shock of the referendum the will of the people still hasn't been implemented. Boris Johnson is the result of this dead-end situation.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Boris means business

The Daily Telegraph has high hopes for London's future cabinet:

“The PM's new team gives the UK the opportunity to thrive under a no deal Brexit, making it a far more credible path for the country to take, and consequently giving Britain far greater weight in EU negotiations. As of today the country is finally being run by people who believe in the project they are trying to deliver. Not out of a sense of begrudging duty, but a conviction that it is the right course for the country. That matters. In the first few hours of his administration, Boris has shown the country and the world that he means business.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Brexit is top priority

Britain's new prime minister will focus all his attention on Brexit, Večernji list believes:

“All the key posts went to his loyal 'hard Brexiteers'. This can also be seen as a statement that Brexit will be the top priority for the next 98 days until the UK exits the EU. Although Johnson stresses that Theresa May's deal is dead, he seems to understand that he needs to make arrangements with Brussels. He talked yesterday of 'side deals' on certain issues. The EU's response was swift. It communicated openly that Johnson's claim had nothing to do with reality and that stories about such talks were 'absolute rubbish'.”

Le Quotidien (LU) /

The fun's over

Under no circumstances should the EU give in to Johnson, Le Quotidien warns:

“It is in the interests of both the future EU Commission under the leadership of Ursula von der Leyen and the twenty-seven states and government heads not to back down. Even a further delay to the Brexit date would be one concession too many to Boris Johnson, who never really seems to have taken the consequences of a hard Brexit seriously. This man, who has always dreamed of becoming prime minister of Britain, must now embrace his new role and act in the interests of his people. If Boris Johnson continues to dig in his heels, his mandate could be very short indeed. Both Britain and the EU need stability. So it's time to make one thing very clear: the fun's over now.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

The EU must be prepared for the worst

A new, unpredictable phase in the Brexit spectacle is beginnning, De Volkskrant predicts:

“In view of the total dead-end into which the country has maneuvered itself since the fatal 2016 referendum, Johnson's promises seem to be mostly wishful thinking. Johnson must navigate between the same two extremes as May, but now with even less leeway in parliament. ... Johnson has no silver bullet to help him realise his dream of going down in history on 31 October as the PM who successfully freed Britain from the EU. But with his character he can perhaps succeed in making the world believe that he did his best. ... The EU would be well advised to prepare for the worst.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Johnson needs Donald Trump now

Now Johnson needs to figure out how much Trump can really help him when it comes to a free trade agreement, Cristian Unteanu notes in his blog with Adevărul:

“The matter is essential and urgent. Because it looks as if things are about to explode, especially if it comes to a hard Brexit. Then Scotland and Northern Ireland will want to stay in the EU. This means independence referendums in both regions. ... To avoid this dramatic scenario that is tantamount to breaking up the United Kingdom, Johnson must swiftly deliver the guarantees that Trump has supposedly promised him. But in view of the worldwide economic tensions and trade wars with the EU and China, it will probably be difficult for Trump to offer them.”