In remarks that echo some of the reactions seen by top officials across the European Union‘s political spectrum, Professor Miguel Ángel Benedicto, from Madrid’s Complutense University, said Mr Johnson‘s quitting paves the way to fix the “badly-damaged” ties between the United Kingdom and the bloc.
Prof Benedicto said: “Johnson’s departure has been received with relief in Brussels and a calmer and more boring prime minister with whom to be able to negotiate without attempts to break international agreements such as the [Northern Ireland] Protocol is expected.”
Mr Johnson won a landslide election on the promise that he would “get Brexit done”.
He certainly took the UK out of the EU and did so by delivering a deal with Brussels.
But two-and-a-half years later, the treatment of Northern Ireland remains unfinished business.
Proof of that is Mr Johnson’s push for new domestic legislation overriding parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which governs post-Brexit trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
It was designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland but led to new goods checks at Northern Ireland sea ports on some products from Great Britain – effectively creating a new trade border in the Irish Sea.
The bill, which passed the second reading stage in the House of Commons last week despite heavy criticism from some Tory backbenchers, tackles the bureaucratic chaos that the protocol creates for businesses shipping goods to the region.
The new legislation is currently being fast-tracked through Parliament and, according to Mr Johnson’s prediction last month, it could go through “fairly rapidly” and be on the statute books by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, French MEP Nathalie Loiseau called the day of Mr Johson’s resignation a “day of hope for improved EU-UK relations built on trust and on the full implementation, in good faith and goodwill, of agreements negotiated, signed and ratified jointly”.
She continued: “We are ready. Let’s unite instead of being divided. Let’s remember the meaning of friendship.”
Dutch MEP Guy Verhofstadt said that relations London-Brussels relations can only improve without Mr Johnson, going as far as comparing him to form US President Donald Trump.
He said: “Boris Johnson’s reign ends in disgrace, just like his friend Donald Trump.
“The end of an era of transatlantic populism? Let’s hope so.”
Writing on Twitter, he added: “EU-UK relations suffered hugely with Johnson’s choice of Brexit. Things can only get better!”
Mr Johnson’s resignation as leader of the Conservative Party on Thursday followed a flurry of scandals that led him to lose the support of some of his closest allies, starting with Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
When asked why bloc members seem happy to see him go, Prof Benedicto suggested the “Johnson scandals” should not be consuming the EU’s time and energy.
He said: “[They] are a national issue that the British should settle, not the EU. It is a matter of internal, non-European politics.”