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Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

World leaders react to Boris Johnson's victory as EU says its 'ready for next ph

World leaders today congratulated Boris Johnson following his landslide victory last night but EU heads issued a stark warning that an agreement on the withdrawal bill must be reached soon.

Numerous EU leaders sent their best wishes to the prime minister but in the same breath called for a swift agreement on a Brexit trade deal.

Mr Johnson hailed much of the success of the General Election to ‘a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done’ and insisted he would lead the UK out of the EU by the end of January.

But as the dust settled on Friday night, leaders warned that huge challenges lie ahead in trying to secure a trade agreement between Europe and the UK in just 11 months.

Speaking after a meeting in Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: ‘It’s not only about a trade agreement but also speaking about education … about transport, about fisheries, about sectorial questions.

‘Many, many other fields are in the portfolio to be negotiated.’


Most pacts take years to conclude and the lack of time means priorities will have to be set, insist EU leaders.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed that concluding an agreement on future ties will be ‘very complicated’ and that ‘what will matter above all is that we work very quickly and precisely’.

Her comments came after her spokesman tweeted today: ‘Congratulations, Boris Johnson, on your resounding victory. I look forward to working with you for the friendship and strong cooperation between our nations’.

President of the European Council, Charles Michel, also congratulated Mr Johnson, adding he expects a vote of the PM’s Withdrawal Agreement ‘as soon as possible’.

Mr Michel said the EU was ‘ready for the next phase’, adding: ‘We will negotiate a future trade deal which ensures a true level playing field.’


Asked whether a deal with the UK can be sealed in the next 12 months, Mr Michel said: ‘Regarding Brexit, it’s not my intention to predict based on the experience of the past, but I hope that we will be able to work very hard with the British Government.’

Other world leaders shared their support for Mr Johnson following his win.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: Congratulations my friend @BorisJohnson on your historic victory. This is a great day for the people of Great Britain and for the friendship between us.’

Australian President Scott Morrison also rushed to offer his congratulations to Mr Johnson on his ‘resounding victory’ and spoke of the promising future of trade between the countries.

He wrote: ‘Congratulations @BorisJohnson on a resounding victory and being returned as UK PM.

‘Looking forward to the stability this brings and a new deal for Oz with the UK. Say g’day to the quiet Britons for us.’

Donald Trump was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Boris Johnson, telling of his excitement of a potential post-Brexit ‘massive new trade deal’.

Other EU leaders shared their support, with Czech Republix Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš, tweeting: ‘He is a charismatic leader, we share the same kind of thinking.

‘He received strong mandate to deliver Brexit. I’m sorry that Czech Republic loses strong ally in the EU.’

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel wrote: ‘Boris won the election by telling everyone he wants to deliver, so now it’s time to deliver’.

Ahead of the results, President of the European People’s Party Donald Tusk took to Twitter to urge that despite the outcome the election, the EU must work to maintain a strong relationship with the UK.

He tweeted: ‘The fatigue with Brexit cannot mean a fatigue with the UK. Regardless of the result of today’s elections, the EU should do everything to have the best possible relations with the UK.’

In the Conservatives’ best victory since the 1980s, the party stole seats from Labour and the Lib Dems in the north of England, leaving Mr Corbyn facing increasing pressure to resign.

In his acceptance speech before the party was officially declared winner, Mr Johnson said: ‘I don’t want to tempt fate because clearly lots of results are still coming in and we’re still only dealing with projections but at this stage it does look as though this one nation Conservative Government has been given a powerful new mandate – to get Brexit done.’

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