Boris Johnson’s charm offensive delights Lisbon

He came, he saw, he ‘basically Borised’.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was on a major charm offensive when he arrived in Lisbon for talks with his Portuguese counterpart August Santos Silva last Friday.

A popular historian (says Wikipedia), he even suggested there is a clause “somewhere I’m sure” in the 1386 Treaty of Windsor that could be used by Portugal to unblock Brexit negotiations.

It’s a clause that requires “very careful” reading (in other words, it might not be that easy to find), but it basically affirms that “it is the duty of one side to come to the aid of the other” in times of need (which these clearly are).

Mr Johnson also brought up the Duke of Wellington’s role in chasing Napoleon’s troops out of Portugal in the early 19th century, reports the UK’s Daily Express.

Well-into his stride, he alluded to Britain’s super spy James Bond having been “conceived, at least intellectually in Estoril” – which the Express describes as a “Lisbon beach suburb”.

Woven between all the theatrical waffle came reference to the 400,000 Portuguese residents making “a wonderful contribution to our lives, culture and economy” in the UK.

Mr Johnson stressed that it is “vital for both sides that their rights are protected”, while the less verbose Santos Silva added that “Brexit will not be the collapse of (Europe’s oldest) ally, but on the contrary will increase our responsibility to improve our bilateral relations”.

The Express pointed out that “earlier this month, Mr Santos Silva said Lisbon had no plans to play a mediating role in the Brexit negotiations, claiming he respected the decision of the EU27 to have a joint negotiation led by Michel Barnier”.

But now, he too may be returning to the ancient Windsor Treaty to see if he can find that elusive clause and somehow navigate the obduracy of Community icebergs.

According to the Express, this lighting trip was just one of the colourful Foreign Secretary’s forays into European capitals, all designed to help ‘unblock’ Brexit’s blockages.

Regarding the hundreds of thousands of Brits resident in Portugal, Mr Johnson said: “What I think we all want is for these negotiations to go forward and for a balanced and a good solution to be found”.

In Portugal, Boris Johnson’s visit, taking place in Lisbon’s Museu de Electicidade, and involving Portuguese business association, the military and sundry politicians, delighted the media – albeit leaving it realising we have no ‘Boris-like’ equivalents to bring wide smiles and frequent giggles to the circular world of Portuguese politics.

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Photo: https://twitter.com/borisjohnson