7 takeaways from Michel Barnier’s Brexit book

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Michel Barnier’s new guide (all 541 pages of it) takes a detailed take a look at the Brexit negotiations& from the point of view of the EU chief negotiator himself. It might& additionally present a marketing campaign platform if& Barnier& decides to run& in France’s 2022 presidential election

In “The Grand Illusion: A Secret Diary of Brexit” — out there in French, with an English version out in the fall — the previous chief Brexit negotiator portrays himself as a relaxed and collected operator during a historic negotiation, commonly making an attempt to “control our nerves” in the face of irresponsible British politicians and officials.

The e-book provides a painstaking description of the Brexit negotiations, from the “brutal wake-up” call of the referendum in June 2016 to December 24, 2020, when the EU and the U.Okay. signed their trade deal.

Barnier additionally waxes lyrical about his love of Eire, his admiration for the British civil service and for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and his emotional meeting with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who signed a replica of her ebook “Fascism: A Warning,” to “Michel Barnier, who's undoubtedly tasked with Europe’s most troublesome mission.”

Listed here are seven fascinating moments in Barnier’s memoir:

He voted for Macron

Barnier, a former French Cupboard minister, is a Gaullist and a member of the conservative Les Républicains social gathering. However in the guide he confesses to having voted for Emmanuel Macron in the second round of France’s 2017 election.

“Despite the fact that he does not belong to the Gaullist celebration, for which I committed myself at the age of 14, I forged a vote, in this second spherical of the presidential election, to Emmanuel Macron,” Barnier writes, hinting that he most popular Macron’s “constructive and pro-European vision” to the “populist discourse” of Macron’s rival Marine Le Pen.

He appreciated Olly Robbins…

In numerous elements of the guide, Barnier expresses admiration for the British civil service and notably for Olly Robbins, the civil servant who led the work on a deal on behalf of former Prime Minister Theresa Might. Robbins “has the caliber of nice British excessive officials,” Barnier writes. “He understands better than others the results of Brexit and he seeks to limit its unfavorable effects.”

Writing about one assembly with Robbins, Barnier particulars his “admiration” for such a “dignified” official. “I don’t envy them for having above their heads a political class, which … refuses merely to take duty for the results of selections and positions they have taken a yr in the past.”

however not Dominic Raab

Of all of the U.Okay. Brexit secretaries, Barnier has specific mistrust of Dominic Raab, now the overseas secretary. After Raab tells Barnier to simply accept his view on a special customs association with the U.Okay. otherwise there might be no deal, “my coronary heart skipped a beat,” Barner writes. He tells Raab that if that’s the case, then “negotiations can stop immediately … And I will prepare myself within the subsequent days to tell the European Parliament and member states. We'll word that negotiations failed on Brexit itself.” Raab abruptly retracts after realizing “he went too far.”

“Raab is certainly not a man of nuance,” Barnier writes.

Barnier additionally mentions Raab’s oft-mocked declaration that he was stunned to seek out out the U.Okay. was “notably dependent upon the Dover-Calais crossing,” writing: “I don’t even need to smile but there's undoubtedly one thing that's deranged within the British system.”

Martin Selmayr was his competitor

Barnier recounts a tense telephone conversation with Martin Selmayr, the controversial former chief of employees of& Jean-Claude Juncker,& whom he suspects to be holding parallel negotiations with the British at a essential second within the Brexit negotiations.

“I do know he sees immediately Olly Robbins and speaks to him regardless of the formal request [not to do so] made by [then European Commission President] Jean-Claude Juncker once I was there in his workplace,” Barnier writes.& “Such discussions by themselves don’t shock me,”& he continues,& “besides when it is about expressing on to the British aspect concepts which are his, and of which we haven’t spoken.”&

“From the beginning, the British aspect play it both ways, and are in search of to open with Martin Selmayr a second line of negotiation,” Barnier added. “And I see that he& [Selmay]& has a tough time resisting.”

Barnier& tells& Selmayr& about& his considerations. “Together with his typical stamina, he tells me he has no time to deal with Brexit, that he has different issues to do, including to save lots of the commerce agreement with the U.S. … and that he doesn’t converse to the British aspect … nobody is fooled.”

and a divisive manager

After presenting the EU-U.Okay. divorce settlement to Juncker, Barnier goes to see Donald Tusk, then European Council president, who “understood in a short time that I might not enter into the standard competition and rivalries recreation between establishments.”

Selmayr calls him to say Juncker is “livid” after seeing him on TV with Tusk. “All the time the same technique, which consists of adding gasoline to the hearth, or putting strain by destabilizing his interlocutors,” Barnier writes of Selmayr’s strategy. “I might examine afterward the true feelings of Juncker, who had not made a fuss about it.”

When Selmayr leaves office, Barnier says “it's time for the Fee to get again to a traditional functioning, a extra collegial one, a less brutal management, extra relaxed and more serene human relations.”

He loves Ireland

Barnier insists many occasions in his guide that he led the Brexit negotiations with pragmatism and objectivity. But his trips to the Irish border have been emotional. “I promised myself on this negotiation to never bask in arguments and assaults coming from British tabloids, to concentrate to the words I exploit, to stick to information, to figures, to legal basis,” Barnier writes. “But right here in Ireland … it's troublesome not to be touched by the sensitivity and emotion of those that categorical themselves.” He expresses satisfaction at with the ability to squeeze a number of Gaelic phrases into his speeches.

Preventing for the flags

At first of the Brexit negotiations, Barnier says he requested Fee employees to offer 28 European flags to welcome his friends. But he is advised in a “dry and fast” means that such a requirement is “out of question” as a result of at the Berlaymont, the one flags flown are these of the EU, and the U.Okay. has voted to go away. Barnier says he ignored that “iron regulation” and obtained Juncker to agree to offer all of the flags. &



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