UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaffirms strong support for future of NATO

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking to ERR'S Astrid Kannel.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking to ERR'S Astrid Kannel. Source: ERR

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told ERR on Saturday he believes NATO has a strong future, that he does not support a second Scottish referendum, and that he hoped to improve relations with Russia but the two countries have "terrible problems".

Johnson disagreed with French President Emmanuel Macron saying NATO was brain-dead. He noted that even Macron has to agree that NATO is probably the most successful military alliance in the last 500 years and has a great future.

He said: "Even Emmanuel, who is a great thinker about these things, would agree NATO is a very very important alliance which has been historically the most successful military alliance in, well that I can think of, in the last 500 years and it's got a great future.

"But today we are here to show Britain's support for Estonia. We believe in the enhanced forward presence. I'm a strong supporter of what we're doing here in Tapa... and we will continue for a very long time."

When asked about relations with Russia and if the UK would "warm-up relations" with the country after Brexit and would sanctions remain in place, Johnson said: "I am like many people in western Europe who always hope that we can have better relations with Russia. Always we hope. And so yes, we want to have better commercial relations, we want to have more trade, but it is always so disappointing because we have terrible problems. If you remember a couple of years ago the poisonings of Sergei and Julia Skripal in Sailsbury [and] the terrible difficulties that raises in our relations with Russia."

He added: "I'm an optimist, but I keep being confronted by real difficulties in trying to take our relationship forward."

Kannel also asked, that after Johnson compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Dobby the house-elf in Harry Potter, who did Johnson see himself as in the franchise? The Prime minister said he was "no expert" and that someone should ask his children instead. He did deny that he could be Harry Potter.

Speaking about the possibilities of a second Scottish independence referendum he said was a "supporter of a strong Scotland" and said people should feel proud of their Scottish identity.

"I also believe in the United Kingdom and I believe in Britain and that is a wonderful thing too. And I do not want to smash that or destroy the United Kingdom," he said. "We had a referendum on that issue a few years ago and they said it was a once in a generation event in 2014 and you know, I think that's right."

Kannel also asked Johnson if he was aware of an ancestor Auguste Caroline, who was buried in Estonia. This came as a surprise to the British Head of Government.

"I am delighted to hear that I have Estonian ancestry, I'm very proud of it. I am very proud to have come back to Estonia to discover my roots. Thank you for letting me know," he said.

Watch the full interview here in English.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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