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OFFBEAT

France’s Europe Minister admits ‘Brexit the cat’ was just a joke

It turns out reports of the existence of Brexit (the cat) have been greatly exaggerated.

France's Europe Minister admits 'Brexit the cat' was just a joke
Photos: AFP
Despite reports to the contrary, French Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau has not named her cat “Brexit”, her office said on Tuesday.
 
Reports began circulating on Sunday after the Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported that the 54-year-old had written about her pet on her private Facebook page.
 
“I've ended up calling my cat Brexit,” the paper quoted Loiseau as writing.
 
“It wakes me up meowing like crazy every morning because it wants to go out, but as soon as I open the door, it just sits there undecided and then looks angry when I put it outside.”
   
The joke at British expense — an allusion to Britain's inability to decide when and how it wants to leave the European Union — was picked up by numerous London-based newspapers and American media outlets, and amplified on social media.
   
But it was in fact just a joke as “Brexit” the cat — unlike the cat thought up as an experiment by Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger — is neither alive, nor dead. It simply does not exist.
   
“It was a joke, obviously,” Loiseau told Radio J on Sunday afternoon. “I don't have a cat.” 
   
This did not stop her facing a question from a British journalist at EU negotiations in Brussels on Tuesday who enquired about her feline.
   
“I think I have to have a certain sense of humour to deal with Brexit. Not only me, but my fellow citizens,” she replied.
 
A member of her cabinet, reached by telephone, confirmed that the minister does not own a cat.

Member comments

  1. Some might think the Minister’s joke was a bit “catty,” but we see it as “purr-fect.”

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POLITICS

British PM Boris Johnson’s dad becomes French

The Brexit-supporting father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acquired French citizenship, a French justice ministry source told AFP.

British PM Boris Johnson's dad becomes French

A Conservative who once worked for the European Commission in Brussels, Stanley Johnson opposed Brexit at first but swung behind the EU departure project following 2016’s narrow referendum vote that was championed by his son.

The elder Johnson’s ties to France are through his French mother, and he speaks the language.

The 81-year-old filed his citizenship application at the French consulate in London in November last year, with a six-month deadline for the justice ministry to object elapsing on Wednesday.

“Based on the facts in his application, and without a refusal by the justice minister, Mr Stanley Johnson acquired French nationality on May 18 2022,” the ministry told AFP.

READ ALSO Am I eligible for French citizenship?

“This decision concerns only Mr Stanley Johnson and does not extend to his descendants,” it added.

The most common ways of acquiring French nationality are through residency in the country or marriage to a French citizen.

However it is possible to become French through family connections, although France accepts only a French parent – not a grandparent like Ireland or a great-grandparent like Italy – in these types of application.

READ ALSO How to obtain French citizenship through ancestry

French law normally prevents children of its citizens from claiming nationality if their family has been abroad for more than 50 years without making use of their rights.

But their applications can still be considered if they can prove “concrete ties of a cultural, professional, economic or family nature” with France — a clause Stanley invoked in his application.

“I’ll always be European, that’s for sure,” Stanley Johnson told RTL radio in French in a December 2020 interview.

He had come under fire at home for his plans, announced at the same time most Britons were losing the right to travel freely across the European Union as a post-Brexit “transition period” ended.

“It’s not a question of becoming French. If I understand correctly I am French! My mother was born in France, her mother was completely French as was her grandfather,” Stanley said.

“For me it’s a question of obtaining what I already have and I am very happy about that,” he added.

Around 3,100 British people acquired French nationality in 2020, according to the latest figures available from EU statistics agency Eurostat, making France the second most popular choice for acquiring European citizenship, after Germany.

Stanley Johnson has become a public figure in Britain following his son’s political rise, appearing on a celebrity reality TV show in 2017 and appearing regularly in the media.

His ex-wife Charlotte Fawcett — Boris’s mother — told a biographer recently that Stanley had beaten her many times, breaking her nose on one occasion.

Last year two women, a Conservative MP and a journalist, accused him of groping or touching them inappropriately.

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