EU Commissioner likens new UK PM Johnson to Boris Yeltsin

Boris Johnson leaves the Conservative Party headquarters after being announced as the new Conservative party leader at an event in central London 23 July 2019. [EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL]

The UK’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, shares “a way of doing politics” with the former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, including offering “many unrealistic promises, ignoring economic rationales and rational decisions,” European commissioner for health Vytenis Andriukaitis has said.

In a blog post published subsequent to Johnson’s nomination as the next UK Prime Minister on Tuesday (23 July), Andriukaitis wrote that, “without comparing the UK itself with the USSR because it is not comparable, I can’t think of a better golden standard than the USSR in terms of fact distortion, reality falsification and blunt oblivions of reality.”

Johnson defeated Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt with 66% of the vote in the ballot between Conservative Party members for the designation of UK’s next prime minister to succeed Theresa May. Johnson will be formally sworn in to his position today (23 July) when he will travel to Buckingham Palace, where the Queen will ask him to form a government.

Andriukaitis has also previously locked horns with Hunt as well, following a comparison made by the Foreign Secretary of the EU with Soviet Russia at the Conservative Party Conference last year. Hunt had likened the EU’s negotiation strategy to the politics employed by the USSR.

“I was born in [a] Soviet gulag,” Andriukaitis wrote on Twitter in response to Hunt’s claim, “and been imprisoned by KGB a few times in my life. Happy to brief you on the main differences between EU and Soviet Union.”

Andriukaitis: Please be worried

“I know what it means to be discriminated (against)… and when I hear anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, and xenophobic speech, it’s like a bell ringing, telling people ‘Please be worried’,” Vytenis Andriukaitis told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview.

Johnson’s nomination as the UK’s next PM has sparked concern amongst many who are worried about Johnson’s ‘do or die’ intentions to deliver Brexit by the end of October.

On Tuesday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she has “profound concerns about the prospect of his premiership.”

“These are concerns that I am certain will be shared by the vast majority of people in Scotland who, had they been given any say, would not have chosen to hand the keys of Number 10 to someone with his views and track record,” Sturgeon said in a statement given immediately after Johnson was approved as the UK’s next leader.

However, it was not all bad news for Johnson, as other global political figures applauded his nomination.

US President Donald Trump came out in support of Johnson, tweeting that the new leader “will be great,” while Italy’s interior minister and leader of the ruling right-wing Lega party, Matteo Salvini, congratulated Johnson on his victory, saying that he likes the new UK leader even more after Tony Blair had depicted the new Conservative leader as even more dangerous than Lega.

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