The father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday he wanted to take French nationality and thus keep “a link” with the European Union (EU), as his country prepares to cast off.
“If I understood correctly, I am French. My mother was born in France, her mother was entirely French, also her grandfather ”, explained Stanley Johnson, aged 80, on RTL radio. “For me, it’s a question of claiming what I already have and therefore, I am very happy,” he added, in French, thus ruling out any mood swings in reaction to Brexit that his son completed his term as Prime Minister.
“I will always be European, that’s for sure”
Stanley Johnson was one of the first British civil servants in Brussels, a member of the European Parliament and of the Commission. First anti-Brexit in 2016, he turned his back on the following year. “I’ll always be European, that’s for sure. You cannot say to the English “you are not European”. Europe is always more than the Common Market, it is more than the European Union ”, he insisted. “That said, yes, having a link like that with the European Union is important,” he also conceded, referring to the European passport.
Her daughter Rachel Johnnon had already hinted in March that he would start this process after the UK left the EU. “It’s good news, I could become French too,” she said in a book.
Naturalizations on the rise
After half a century of European integration and four and a half years of a Brexit saga with many twists and turns, the United Kingdom is living its last hours on Thursday to the rhythm of European rules. At 11 p.m. local time (midnight in Brussels), marked by the gongs of Big Ben, Brexit will become reality for the country, which officially left the EU on January 31 but benefited from a transition period to cushion the shock.
Naturalizations of British citizens exploded in France after the 2016 Brexit referendum, dropping from 439 that year to 1,605 in 2017, 3,124 in 2018 and 3,827 in 2019, according to statistics from the French Ministry of Interior. In the first six months of 2020, 1,580 requests were registered.