You were right! Barnier makes bombshell immigration admission to ‘shield’ France from EU
by: Hani Kamal El-Din
Michel Barnier has criticised the EU and advocated for similar protections to French law offered by the Brexit vote.
Mr Barnier, 72, the controversial former EU diplomat who helped shape the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the bloc, appears to have politically aligned with Brexiteers he fiercely opposed.
The former chief negotiator has heaped criticism on some of the bloc’s institutions as he turns his attention to France, his home country where he ran for president in 2022.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Barnier called for France to receive protections from EU laws as the country navigates “out of control” immigration.
In a shock interview with the publication, he also suggested France should suspend all non-EU immigration for three to five years, and install a “constitutional shield” blocking decisions made by his former employers.
Mr Barnier called for discussions about migration “at a European level”, but, in the meantime, suggested France require constitutional protections from the EU.
He claimed the European Courts of Justice (ECJ) – another institution at the centre of the Brexit debate – was responsible for policies that reduce states’ freedom to act in the name of national security and expand migrants’ rights to bring family members.
And he appeared to mirror Rishi Sunak’s Government line, stating existing policies seem to be written in favour of migrants, requiring France to reshape its relationship with the European Convention of Human Rights.
He said: “For 30 or 40 years, there’s a kind of interpretation that is always in favour of the migrants . . . We have to rewrite something in the [EU] treaties or in the [European Convention of Human Rights].”
While he has left the EU’s Commission’s Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, Mr Barnier, now opposing populists like Marine Le Pen in his home country, remains a keen advocate for the bloc.
He said: “The EU today is no longer the EU that the UK left. We have begun to draw the lessons of Brexit.”
Mr Barnier praised lawmakers’ bid to fight populism, hiring 10,000 border guards, and a joint borrowing scheme members have used to build a Covid recovery fund.
Despite Mr Barnier’s criticism, some Remainers still are desperate to rejoin the bloc.
Recent polling by Omnisis, in partnership with WeThink, based on fieldwork conducted between November 16 and 17 this year, found that 58 per cent of people would rejoin, while 42 per cent would stay clear of the EU.