Stanley Johnson, the father of British PM Boris Johnson, who owns a villa in Greece and has spoken repeatedly of his love for the country, announced on Thursday he is applying for French citizenship.
Johnson, a former member of the European Parliament who voted to Remain in Britain’s 2016 referendum, said that he will receive a French passport to maintain his ties with the European Union after Brexit.
“I will always be a European, that’s for sure. One cannot tell the British people ‘you are not Europeans.’ Having a tie with the European Union is important,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Johnson’s decision is bound to disappoint some Greeks, who were hoping that the outspoken philhellene would seek Greek citizenship instead.
Flying to his villa amid restrictions
In July of 2020, he broke restrictions — which had been imposed by his son — to fly to Greece via Bulgaria.
The 79-year-old arrived in Athens en route to visit his villa at Pelion, central Greece. He boasted of his trip in a pair of Instagram posts showing his plane coming in over Athens.
“I’m in Pelion on essential business trying to Covid-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season. I need to set up distancing measures at the property because they’re taking it very seriously here,” Johnson was quoted as saying by British tabloid Daily Mail.
“The Greeks are trying to stop bulk arrivals from the UK but they were quite happy to have me coming in. All they wanted to know where I was coming from and what I was doing. Then I had my temperature taken and was swabbed twice,” he added.
The former MEP had long planned to travel to Greece, telling one Greek journalist in May that he had already booked his air ticket. “I’m very worried that we may not be able to (go) this summer,” he told the Greek daily Ta Nea.
“We are in this country in lockdown and even if we can leave Britain it’s not clear to me that we would yet be welcome in Greece … of course I’d love to be there, even if I had to go and self-isolate in my house I’d do that.”
Luxury villa at Pelion
The official name of the property is known as “Irene Villa,” and is situated along the beautiful coastal resort of Horto, a prime location for sweeping views of the land and sea.
The locale offers both sandy beaches from the Aegean Sea and mountain slopes, as the Pelion peninsula is a testament to Greece’s natural beauty and scenery.
During the summer season, various festivals and celebrations take place that tourists can also partake in.
The villa comes with its very own pool and lounge area for the family to enjoy the lovely views of the peninsula and just pass the time.