General election 2019: Europe's press both relieved and wary" width="976" height="549">
Boris Johnson's character - and what type of Brexit looms - dominate opinion in European newspapers - and for many the two are intertwined."Finally, there is clarity," declares Germany's Die Zeit, under the headline "Winning power unscrupulously" and a picture of a triumphant Mr Johnson."The United Kingdom and the EU should be relieved that the turmoil of a minority government and a parliamentary blockade are finally over. The past three years have brought democracy in the UK to the brink of its ability to function - and have strained the EU's patience," it says."Economically, leaving the EU for the UK is of course still harmful. But that's not been the point for a long time. Most Britons have long known that they have been lied to."
'Tough few years'
Writing in the Irish Independent, John Downing eyes the implications for Ireland - both north and south. "Two immediate things will result in Ireland. First is there will be an election in the Republic of Ireland in February or early March… Second is that the Democratic Unionist Party is surplus to requirements. They must join Sinn Fein in getting over themselves to make power-sharing in Belfast work again after three years of shameful idleness."
Once the EU-UK draft divorce deal agreed in October becomes law in London and Brussels, he says, talks will open on a new post-Brexit trade deal. "Every time the UK talks about abandoning EU standards, they risk being penalised by quotas and tariffs. That would be really bad news for Ireland which does a cumulative east-west trade worth €1.5bn (
"A tough few years beckon. You can forget Boris Johnson's campaign claims that a new EU-UK trade deal can be done by December 2020."
Brexit 'carousel'
In the Netherlands which, like Ireland, would be at the sharp end of a potential no-deal Brexit, financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad argues Mr Johnson's big victory could be good news. "After all, the prime minister will be less dependent on the hard Brexiteers in his party, which could simplify the negotiations about a future trade relationship," it says.And this is echoed in Sweden, where tabloid Aftonbladet says: "Paradoxically, Johnson's vast majority may mean that he does not need to listen as much to those who want a hard Brexit - if it is as many people think, that he wants to see a softer Brexit… In that case, we are back in the carousel of the EU having to give the British more time."
Personal branding
Belgium's De Tijd also sees Brexit throwing up huge challenges in the coming year, although it believes the Conservatives' pledge to "get Brexit done" landed well with voters "thoroughly fed up" with the issue."But even Johnson will not be able to pull a solution out of his top hat," it says. "That is not a problem, of course. Johnson has broken big promises before… Now that Johnson has grabbed his much-desired absolute majority in the House of Commons, new cliff-hangers are expected, and the Brexit soap will continue".
Spain's papers focus on Boris Johnson's character as a key factor. "Firm. Strong. Nice. Charismatic. Incompetent. Dishonest. Fake. Unreliable… This is how the British define Boris Johnson," El Mundo says."Many see his hostile treatment of parliament during his first two months as a presage of what's coming next. With an absolute majority, it is feared that Boris Johnson could behave like a real despot and promote a definitive "decollage" from Europe, pivoting British society towards the American model (after all, he was born in New York)."
Fog over channel
Spain's El Confidencial says Mr Johnson has never been a traditional politician. "His shabby appearance, transparent language and stormy relationship with the truth define a personal brand that both attracts and frightens. Either thanks to it or in spite of it, he swept the polls."
Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung is optimistic, declaring "Boris Johnson had an easy time". Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn "was the best campaigner for the Conservatives", it believes. The paper urges Mr Johnson, with a powerful mandate, to take a particular path. "His whopping majority will allow him to negotiate a gentle Brexit that will help Britain's economy and avoid big shocks."But there's gloom over at Sweden's liberal Dagens Nyheter. "Openness to the outside world made modern Britain what it is today. Now the fog lowers across the English Channel. The continent is isolated. " BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.
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