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TematicheItalia ed EuropaWho is Who: Boris Johnson

Who is Who: Boris Johnson


Name: Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson
Nationality: British
Date of birth: 19 June 1964
Role: Secretary of State for Foreing and Commonwealth Affairs

Boris Johnson, British politician, journalist and author has been one of the leading figures that in 2016 inflamed the electoral campaign for the British referendum about the possibile exit of the country from EU. Member of the Conservative Party, former London mayor, he has covered since the 13th of July 2016 the prestigious role ofSecretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Besides, he has been Member of Parliament (MP) for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency since May 2015. So, about his position as chief of the Foreign Office, it’s very easy to comprehend the key role that his character is having in the difficult process of the concrete exit of UK from more than 40 years of European commitment.

Before concentrating about his present positions and activities, let’s take a brief look at his biography. He was born in New York in 1964 to British parents. He was educated at Eton (King’s Scholar), and Balliol College, Oxford (Brackenbury Scholar in Classics). In his activity as journalist he worked for The Times, The Wolver hampton Express and Star beforejoining The Daily Telegraph, where he was successively a leader and feature writer, EU Correspondent, and Assistant Editor.

About his career as politician he was elected to the British parliament for the constituency of Helley-on-Thames in June 2001. Afterwards, he covered a lot of significant roles: Vice-Chairman of the Conservative party (October 2003 – November 2004), Shadow Minister for the Arts (April 2004-November 2004), and Shadow Minister for Higher Education (December 2005-July 2007).

On May 2nd 2008, he was elected Mayor of London by over 1,000,000 Londoners. Johnson overcame the initial skepticism of the Conservative Party, and after gaining the fundamental support of David Cameron, he was able to defeat LabourincumbentKen Livingstone and immediately resigned his seat in parliament. He held the office from the 4th of May 2008 to the 9th of May 2016. In fact, in 2012hewas re-elected for a second mandate. His periodasmayor of the Britishcapital wascharacterized, among the otherthings, by a strong ‘green policy’ of the traffic: a strategypromotedthroughthe realization of many ‘cyclesuperhighways’, hydrogentaxis and rechargestations for the electriccars. Moreover, he banned alcohol consumption on public transport and championed London’s financial sector.

As mentioned above, during the electoral campaign for the referendum tha tbrought the country out of EU, his position was characterized by a strong criticism against the European institutions. In one of his most famous statements, in order to emphasize the lacks of the European project, he compared the EU to Hitler and Napoleon. According to him, these characters tried to unify Europe, but they failed in their efforts. Nowadays, the EU is trying to pursue the same objective by different means.
In parallel with the critics against EU he exalted the organization of the old Roman empire, that was also the central argument of one ofhis books,named ‘The dream of Rome’ (published in 2006). He declared that many in history tried to reestablish the golden age of prosperity and peace that occurred under the Roman command. According to Johnson, in the European project there is a clear lack of authority, and it produces also a serious lack of democracy.
As current chief of the Foreign Office he is guiding the procedures to give‘Brexit’ a concrete form. His most recent action was the declared opposition to the EU request to pay an ‘account’ of 60 billions in order to ‘realize’ the detachment. Johnson defined the amount as ‘notreasonable’.

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