In July 2016, Boris Johnson became Britain’s latest Foreign Secretary despite much criticism that he was not properly respected enough by world leaders. However, whilst many journalists around the world were quick to laugh at the appointment, some pointed to the fact that this appointment is successful it will be a gamble that will pay off ten fold.
Johnson has the background to make a great Foreign Secretary, if he is allowed to get on with his job:
- He speaks multiple languages including French and Italian fluently, as well as having ‘passable’ German and Spanish – all these languages will surely be helpful when he is attempting to raise the British profile in Europe.
- He is urbane. He was born in New York City, and as a child lived in America and Belgium as well as the UK. His ancestors include Turkish, French and Russian Jews.
- He is loved by many, is seen as extremely personable and doesn’t mind having a laugh at his own expense.
- Johnson was London Mayor for eight years, as he was elected twice, which gives him experience in a prominent role.
How have his first two months gone?
One of the most important meetings Johnson has attended as Foreign Secretary was a Brussels summit where he met with his 27 counterparts, including John Kerry, US Secretary of State. After the meeting, the French Foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault said that he acted with a “certain modesty” and Kerry said Johnson had “made clear” the UK “intends to remain a critical, vital, strong component of the European relationship, and of the United States’ relationship with Europe”. Johnson has since been reaching out on social media to Italy over the devastating Earthquake that occurred there as well as reassuring people that the Foreign Office is monitoring the Turkey situation and are giving support where necessary.
If early indicators are anything to go by then it would appear that Johnson has settled down into his role and is taking it in a serious and dignified manner.