Former EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Britain made a mistake in its Brexit strategy.
Barnier’s memoirs on Brexit have been published in English. One of the main themes in the book is the unity among the 27 member states of the European Union.
In an interview with RTÉ One’s Peak time Mr. Barnier was asked tonight if it was difficult to keep all 27 Member States on the same page.
I think the British erred in their strategy because they tried to divide us or bypass my team to deal directly with the member states and that was a mistake. I was a negotiator and they didn’t understand the mandate I had, and I followed.”
“Other member states had to take every national interest in it. Consensus was a tool or leverage for unity and finally it was my day-to-day work. I tried to build this unity every day in very specific ways which is transparency and complete transparency.
“We said everything to everyone at the same time and that’s why this personal trust was built between member states, parliament and my team,” he said.
Mr. Barnier outlined a meeting with Leo Varadkar in February 2019 in his book where he emphasized the importance of maintaining the single market as it is.
Barnier said there should be a border either on or around the island of Ireland or else there might be a possibility of Ireland being excluded from the single market.
“For me it is impossible to exclude a single member state due to Brexit, the single market is our current assets including Ireland. That is why we have tried for three and a half years to find a solution with the British and finally we have found a solution with them.
“We managed to get a majority in the House of Commons and in the end Boris Johnston knew exactly what he had signed on to at the time, and it was no surprise,” he said.
He added: “I left this job nine months ago, and I hope that the content of this protocol will be respected, and no other option can be put on the table – in my opinion. This protocol is a solution to the problem that Brexit has created in Ireland, and we have to be clear and firm. with the British but there is no way in my view to accept any negotiation of this protocol.”
Mr. Barnier begins and concludes his book with a warning about the future of the European Union and “the burden of EU standards on our lives”.
When asked if other countries would leave, he said: “There is always a risk and we have to be careful there are lessons to be learned from Brexit, it is not a small event if leaving the EU is very dangerous, so we have to understand the reasons.
“Obviously they are British domestic causes, but common causes in some areas include social outrage and popular sentiment,” he said.
Barnier is running for the French presidency next year and has proposed that France impose a quota on immigrants coming to France.
We are talking about immigration from third world countries outside Europe. I have never talked about freedom of movement within Europe. I never want to end freedom of movement. I never want to leave my country the European Union.
I am not proposing a special policy for France, my policy is a common policy of the member states and the European Union. I just want my country to be able to make some decisions for its own security. I want France to work with other member states on current immigration policies.
He added, “Today’s immigration policy does not work at the national level, so when policies do not work, it is the politician’s responsibility to change and provide answers. We want to put all actions that do not work on the table to change and improve them.”
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