Boris Johnson wants a political community that encompasses not only the EU but the ancient territory of the Roman Empire
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson has reportedly been so in love with French President Emmanuel Macron’s idea of a “European political community” that includes not only the EU but Eastern Europe – especially Ukraine – and Britain that he has asserted it as his own idea and formulated it as a modern version of the Roman Empire, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
Johnson’s modern empire would stretch from Britain to the Maghreb region of northern Africa and east to Turkey and Ukraine, he said, explaining that he had come up with Macron’s idea “back when I first became foreign minister” and revealed that he thought “we should basically recreating the Mare Nostrum of the Roman Empire “in an audience of journalists heading to Madrid for a NATO summit on Tuesday. Mare Nostrum was the Roman name for the Mediterranean, adopted at a time when the empire controlled large parts of Europe, the coast of northern Africa and present-day Turkey, which stretched into the Caucasus region.
However, Macron even preceded Johnson’s revisionist chronology when he proposed the idea in the European Parliament, claiming that his predecessor Francois Mitterrand had demanded a “broad European club” as far back as 1989 when the Soviet Union was facing crises.
Johnson dampened his enthusiasm and described Macron’s idea as “worth looking at” as long as it aligned with the UK’s strategic goals, while acknowledging that “inventing new structures” may not be the best use of resources to improve partnerships between countries.
Although relations between the French and British leaders have been frosty in the past, the couple agreed to start over on Sunday as they talked to each other during the G7 summit, with a British official describing their newfound partnership as “le bromance”. However, a French official was less elated and described the meeting as “going well. That was all”.
Although the two may have made a fresh start, there are still many issues they do not agree on, with Paris reportedly upset over Johnson’s back pedaling on Brexit as well as his public reviews that suggest Macron is insufficiently aggressive in his contacts with the Russian president. Vladimir Putin.
Johnson was expected to touch on the subject once more during his speech at the NATO summit, telling members to “dig deep”, pony up their full 2% of GDP and strengthen the alliance’s “eastern flank”.
The comments fit the theme of the alliance’s Wednesday meeting, during which it endorsed its new, even more openly anti-Russian strategic concept, declaring that Moscow had “broken peace and seriously changed our security environment” by attacking Ukraine. The members of the bloc assured each other that their alliance was “unique, essential and indispensable” and promised to work together to counter the “authoritarian actors” who threaten its “rule-based international order”.
Johnson was also expected to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leaders of Sweden and Finland, whom NATO welcomed with open arms in its fastest approval to date of a new member. It is not known if he plans to bring up the subject of his new and improved Roman Empire with the trio.
One of the last attempts by major European states to rebuild or claim heirs to the Roman Empire was carried out by the German Nazi and Italian fascist leaders Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. It ended in a crushing defeat in 1945.