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'The Empire Strikes Back': Sweden mocks Boris Johnson

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'The Empire Strikes Back': Sweden mocks Boris Johnson
Johnson (left) and The Empire Strikes Back antagonist Darth Vader (right). Photo: Gareth Fuller/TT/AP & Alastair Grant/AP/TT
13:21 CEST+02:00
UPDATED: Theresa May's surprise appointment of Boris Johnson as the UK's new Foreign Secretary has sent shockwaves across Europe, not least in Sweden.

Residents of the Scandinavian nation are known for keeping a close eye on goings-on in the UK, one of their top allies in the EU.

And it didn't take long for Swedes to express their opinions on handing a vital position representing the UK on the international stage to a man who is known for his colourful record when it comes to interacting with other cultures.

One Swedish Twitter user with the handle Moosbricka compared Johnson to a character from comedy show Little Britain. Another, Almir Listo, simply wrote “Boris Johnson: The empire strikes back”.

Some, like Stefan Andersson, questioned the reality of what they were watching unfold.

As did user Wlanderholm, who recounted a surreal end to yesterday evening.

“I went out to the cinema and when I came out, Boris was Foreign Secretary. Tarzan now feels a little bit more like reality."

Swedish politicians were quick to respond too, including the country's former foreign and prime minister Carl Bildt, and Centre Party MEP Fredrick Federley.

The most light-hearted reaction came from the general public though. Jonas Herjeby highlighted one of Johnson's strengths:

"Say what you want about Boris Johnson but his hair is fantastic! Not good, not cute. Just amazingly entertaining”.

Henrik Isacsson meanwhile compared the event to “like watching a property owner set fire to his house for the insurance money when he doesn't even have insurance”.

The prize for the most unusual response goes to Markus Mattila however. He wasn't concerned about Johnson's history of gaffes, nor his Euroscepticism, but rather, how his appointment would affect a certain spy.

“Boris Johnson is also James Bond's new boss,” he wrote. “Sounds like a farce.”

However, while politicians in Germany and France were quick to comment on Johnson's appointment, with the latter's foreign minister outright calling him a liar, Swedish ministers kept quiet on Thursday.

"She is not available for comment. Try again next week," The Local was told when we approached Foreign Minister Margot Wallström's press office.

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