Europeans Pushing Barnier For More Sensible Stance

Two interesting quotes on Newsnight suggesting that at least some Europeans are pushing Barnier and the Commission to take a more reasonable negotiating stance. Geert Bourgeois, the head of the Flemish government, stressed the need for trade talks: “I’ve met twice Barnier. I brought him to Zeebrugge. 45% of the trade of the export from Zeebrugge is to the United Kingdom, so that’s why I do my best to influence all the people, the ambassadors of the surrounding countries, to work together”. Xavier Bertrand, the influential French politician who runs the Hauts-de-France region, says Brussels’ tone should change:

“I know one thing for sure – nobody has the right to punish the UK and the British people. It was a sovereign choice… punishing and looking to punish is a terrible mistake. It would be a bad message to send. It was the will of the people who voted, regardless of the consequences. It would give rise to the feeling that there’s something with more power than the will of the people, or wanting to go against the will of the people. That would be a terrible error.”

The suggestion in today’s papers is that May’s speech will aim to go over the head of Barnier and appeal to the EU27 to break the deadlock. Clearly it is in the interests of EU politicians like the two above to do that. Whether the EU27 can behave reasonably and rationally is another question…




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President Trump on May’s Brexit deal:

“I would say that Brexit is Brexit. … The people voted to break it up. So I would imagine that’s what they’ll do. But maybe they’ll take a different route, I’m not sure that’s what they voted for.”

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