#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 13°C Friday 30 July 2021

Johnson's 'victory' and a misleading photo: How the UK papers reacted after Boris met Macron

There were some contrasting opinions.

FRANCE-PARIS-BRITISH PM-BORIS JOHNSON-VISIT French President Emmanuel Macron meets with visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Source: PA Images

THE LAST TWO days have been the biggest yet for the new British Prime Minister. 

Boris Johnson has met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in Berlin and Paris respectively. 

The sight of Johnson pressing the flesh with leaders of the EU’s largest two nations was absolute catnip to the British media, with some perhaps getting a little carried away

First, it was a frenzy over Merkel saying it could take “two years or 30 days” to find a solution that would avoid the backstop taking effect.

That was interpreted by many as a slight window of opportunity. 

Today, some of the papers have wildly different takes on how Johnson’s meeting with Macron went yesterday. 

So what happened at the Paris encounter? 

Just like Johnson’s visit to Berlin, it was quite a cordial affair. As of course such meetings often are when one of the leaders has been newly appointed.  

During their press conference in the Élysée Palace, Macron was eager not to undermine Merkel by throwing cold water on her referencing of a timeline. 

“We need to try to have a useful month,” Macron said, adding it was possible to “find something intelligent” in the next 30 days.

He added, however: “I want to be very clear. In the coming month, we will not find a new withdrawal agreement that is far from the fundamentals.”

So while Macron was open to the idea of finding a new solution, he was clear that the backstop must still be part of any plan. 

But this is being interpreted in different ways in today’s UK front pages. 

The fact that Macron didn’t totally poo-poo the idea of a new solution is being taken as a victory for Johnson by some.

With others essentially saying that nothing has really changed. 

The Daily Telegraph

The staunchly pro-Johnson Telegraph goes with the line that civil servants have been told to come up with an alternative to the backstop, adding that “Macron says Withdrawal Agreement can be amended”.

While Macron seemed open to the idea of a new solution, the headline leaves out his insistence that the backstop must be part of any agreement even if a new solution is found. 

The paper used a picture of Johnson with his foot on some furniture in the palace.

The photo had social media pretty exercised about Johnson’s apparent lack of manners and decorum etc, but the video of what happened showed it was just little joke between Macron and Johnson.

Daily Express

The pro-Brexit tabloid featured a photograph of Johnson with his arms raised, calling it a ‘Brexit Victory Salute!’.

The paper cited Macron’s openness to a new solution as being a ‘victory’ but it didn’t focus on his insistence that the backstop must remain. 

Other papers had that as their central point, with several quoting Macron as saying the backstop was “indispensable” 

They were:

The Guardian

 The Independent

The Scotsman

One paper was perhaps somewhere in between…

The Times

The Times came at it from the angle that both Macron and Merkel seemed open to doing a deal but didn’t go so far as to call that a victory for Johnson, rather noting that the work is still ahead. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel