Amusing news from France as Michel Barnier has been knocked out of the Republican primary race in the first round, coming third with 23.8% of the vote:
Maybe we should try voting again in the hope he gets the right result next time round?
After the long-running speculation was all-but confirmed yesterday afternoon, Michel Barnier has launched a bid to become the next President of France. While we knew he would aim for the centre-right Republican’s candidacy, Barnier’s gone in hard on immigration, promising to “limit and have control over immigration”. Has he signed up for Cummings’ Substack consultancy services?
“In these grave times, I have taken the decision and have the determination to stand… and be the president of a France that is reconciled, to respect the French and have France respected”
Specifically, Barnier would implement a five-year ban on immigration and, unbelievably, “reform the EU” to curb regulations and bureaucracy. We’re through the looking glass now, mes ami…
Michel Barnier tells the European Parliament ahead of the ratification of the Brexit deal…
“This is a divorce. It’s a warning, Brexit, and it’s a failure – a failure of the European Union. And we have to learn lessons from it as politicians here in the European Parliament, in council, in the Commission, in all of the capitals. Why did 52% of the British vote against Europe? There are reasons for that – social anger and tension which existed in many regions in the UK but also in many regions of the EU. Our duty is to listen and understand the feelings of the people.”
In his last speech representing the European Commission, last night the EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier made a final plea to his colleagues to end the bloc’s vaccine war with the UK and establish a more cooperative relationship. Speaking at the Churchill Europe Symposium on Wednesday, Barnier said:
“It is true that the UK has a quicker vaccination rate compared to the EU. But the fight against COVID 19 is more than speed of vaccination, important as that is… We will all find strong and weaker points in how we managed this. But there is no place, in such a serious situation, for polemics and competition. There are so many more reasons to cooperate, in the short and the long term.”
Unfortunately, it seems nobody in Brussels was paying attention. Today the EU has once again threatened to suspend exports of the AstraZeneca jab to the UK unless the company delivers the vaccines manufactured within the EU to its member countries first, with internal market commissioner Thierry Breton claiming “there is nothing to negotiate” and that “the doses must stay in Europe“. Meanwhile Pfizer warns new EU rules about the free movement of goods across borders are damaging its ability to export the vaccine….
Michel Barnier has struck a defiant tone in the row over whether EU ‘diplomats’ should receive full diplomatic status in the UK. Complaining that the EU is more like a federal state than an international organisation – and therefore should have ambassadors just like the US does – Barnier said:
“I know the spin, and sometimes more than the spin, of the UK authorities speaking about the EU like an international organisation, but we are not an international organisation”
Little does Barnier know, this is exactly how Brexiteers have been telling Remainers the EU sees itself for decades. Remainers liked to pretend it was more akin to a free trade bloc, Brexiteers called it out as a burgeoning federal state. Barnier finally agrees with the Brexiteers.
This can of course be settled very easily – if the EU is to decide it is in fact a federal state (instead of merely an entity in the process of becoming one) then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have an ambassador. All they would need to do is stand down the ambassadors of their member states as there’s no need to double up. The US’s Texas and California don’t get their own ambassadors in the UK any more so why should the EU’s France or Germany? Independent states or Federal EU. Pick one or the other.
Lord Frost welcomes Barnier’s post-isolation return to negotiations…
“Some people are asking me why we are still talking. My answer is that it’s my job to do my utmost to see if the conditions for a deal exist. It is late, but a deal is still possible, and I will continue to talk until it’s clear that it isn’t. But for a deal to be possible it must fully respect UK sovereignty. That is not just a word – it has practical consequences. That includes: controlling our borders; deciding ourselves on a robust and principled subsidy control system; and controlling our fishing waters. We look to reach an agreement on this basis, allowing the new beginning to our relationship with the EU which, for our part, we have always wanted. We will continue to work hard to get it – because an agreement on any other basis is not possible.”