Brexit is a 'failure' for the EU says Michel Barnier
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
The EU’s former Brexit negotiator said he would make clear “in the fall” whether he will content the next presidential election. Experts have suggested that he could mount a serious challenge as the candidate for the centre-right Les Republicains. Mr Barnier spoke of his strategy in an interview titled “I want to” with weekly magazine Le Point.
Denis MacShane, a former Europe minister in Tony Blair’s New Labour government, suggested the former Brussels diplomat could provide major competition to the current frontrunners.
President Macron remains favourite but pollsters and bookmakers have eurosceptic leader Marine Le Pen following closely behind him in the race.
Of Mr Barnier’s chances, Mr MacShane said: “Could be serious in taking out Macron first round, Marine Le Pen second.”
The former Labour MP suggested that a lot of centre-left voters could shift to back Mr Barnier in order to defeat the far-right candidate in the second round of voting.
But Mij Rahman, of the Eurasia Group, added: “Barnier said he would decide whether or not to run in the autumn.
“He might have missed the bus by then if another strong centre-right challenger emerges.
“He is gambling that nobody does so that he can impose himself as the alternative to Macron and Le Pen.
“The problem for him is that much of the European-minded centre-right is likely to go with Macron. While the rest is not very interested in Europe – or mildly hostile to it.”
Mr Barnier has been touted as one of several potential candidates for the Les Republicains ahead of next April’s presidential elections.
Regional leaders Xavier Bertrand and Valerie Pecresse remain favourites while the EU’s former Brexit chief has not made clear his intentions yet.
In February, Mr Barnier launched a campaign group called “Patriot and European” to bring together like-minded politicians.
At the time, he said: “I have a number of ideas and proposals to make on all issues.”
MUST READ: Brussels caved to EU Parliament demands amid Brexit deal veto threats
He noted “the authority of the state, decentralisation and environment-friendly growth” as targets for a presidential campaign.
In his interview with Le Point, Mr Barnier said he would also lower taxes on production to make French businesses more competitive.
The Frenchman has issued direct challenges to Mr Macron to ensure his country doesn’t vote to leave the EU like the UK.
In a debate on the Brexit trade deal at the European Parliament, Mr Barnier said Britain’s divorce was a political failure from the bloc.
Hand them over! EU orders AstraZeneca to deliver UK vaccines [INSIGHT]
Time for honesty, Nicola! Chilling economic reality of independence [REVEALED]
Kate Hoey branded Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal ‘betrayal’ of UK [ANALYSIS]
Macron may 'struggle' with left-leaning voters says expert
He has previously suggested France could be one of the countries to follow the UK’s lead because of growing anti-Brussels sentiment.
Mr Barnier told MEPS: “This is a divorce. It’s a warning, Brexit, and it’s a failure — a failure of the EU.
“Why did 52 per cent 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.”
Source: Read Full Article