Boris Johnson's habit of 'French bashing' has not endeared him to the French media and they have also been scathing about his dishonesty.
So it was always unlikely that his election win would be greeted with joy in France, but Le Monde was arguably the most vehement national broadsheet on Friday morning with a columnist calling Boris Johnson a “small-scale Donald Trump striving to transform the United Kingdom into a tax haven dumping social and environmental policies”.
The paper added that the 'Get Brexit done' slogan had won after having been repeated “ad nauseam” and pointed out Boris Johnson’s habit of lying and dodging interviews.
Edito. #Brexit | « Pour tous les Européens, l’enracinement d’un Trump au petit pied rêvant de transformer le Royaume-Uni en paradis fiscal pratiquant le dumping social et environnemental aux portes du continent serait une très mauvaise nouvelle. » https://t.co/Oj6ZtCd4k9
— Le Monde (@lemondefr) December 9, 2019
They nonetheless recognised that he had “won his bet”.
Jean Quatremer, a veteran Brussels correspondent for France's Liberation, said Johnson's victory held another important lesson for Europe.
“Finally we will no longer hear certain European officials or Eurocrats in Brussels sagely claim that Brexit won't happen, that the British are 'pragmatic' and we'll all still be able to keep speaking English. For that, thank you Boris Johnson,” he wrote on Twitter.
Conservative newspaper Le Figaro was more measured and described the win as a “crushing majority” for the Tories after a “crazy election campaign”.
The paper stresses the inability of the remain supporters to stand together against Brexit and added that the disarray Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats accurately exemplified this failure.
News magazine L’Express called Johnson’s election a “victory by knockout” and said that there was no obstacle anymore for him to deliver Brexit.
Le Brexit devrait donc bien avoir lieu le 31 janvier 2020. https://t.co/5xc7lml0IN
— Libération (@libe) December 12, 2019
In the EU the tone was more practical.
EU Council President Charles Michel said the bloc was now ready to embark on trade talks with Britain.
“My point is very clear: we are ready. We have decided what are our priorities,” he said.
“I hope we will have loyal negotiations, good negotiations.”
He also voiced hope for an early ratification by the British parliament of the exit agreement negotiated between London and the EU “so that we can start the negotiations on the next phase calmly, quietly but with great determination”.
The EU's Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “We now have to rebuild relations with Great Britain which is an important partner.”
He told French radio the bloc wanted “balanced” trade relations with the UK.
Britain, he said, was a very important trade partner for the EU, “but we are by far the biggest trading partner for Britain”.
By Jean-Baptiste Andrieux