‘Barnier gone mad!’ French MP slams former EU Commissioner for turning back on courts

MP for Macron's party slams former Brexit negotiator

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During his bid to become the French President, Mr Barnier declared how France must abandon both the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights in a bid to reclaim its sovereignty. And in an even more bizarre moment, he also called for a referendum on the issue of French immigration by “September 2022”. But his comments sparked fury from Richard Yung of President Macron’s En Marche! party who accused Mr Barnier of going mad with the suggestions.

In a chaotic speech in the French city of Nimes last week, Mr Barnier said: “We must regain our legal sovereignty so that we are no longer subject to the rulings of the European Court of Justice or the European Court of Human Rights.”

He also refreshed calls for a referendum to impose a five-year moratorium on immigration to France from outside the EU.

Mr Barnier added: “We will propose a referendum in September 2022 on the question of immigration.”

But Mr Yung erupted at the suggestions from Presidential candidate Mr Barnier branding them as surprising before making an unusual suggestion of Brexit’s influence on the former Commissioner.

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H said: “I must say I was very much surprised by the declarations of Mr Barnier whom I thought was a true European!

“Who has come out last week saying we should not recognise the European Court of Justice’s authority.”

And in a peculiar moment, Mr Yung tried to draw parallels between Mr Barnier’s latest admissions to his role as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator.

He said: “When you think he was the chief negotiator for many years with the British…

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“And that the British were very hard on the fact that they didn’t want the European Court of Justice.

“You feel that these presidential elections just make them mad! That is all I can say!”

Responding to Mr Barnier’s out-of-character attack on the European courts, Conservative MP Simon Clarke tweeted: “This is ironic in the extreme.”

The latest comments come as Michel Barnier has made a series of U-Turn statements surrounding the European Union and Brexit in recent weeks which has left observers baffled.


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On Monday the former EU Commissioner gloated about the success of Brexit, claiming the UK’s withdrawal “saved the single market”.

He said: “The Brexit negotiation was a real battle. It was respectful, carried out collectively with the support of the 27 States of the Union and of the European Parliament, in transparency vis-à-vis governments and citizens, but it was a battle.

“We saved the single market, which was threatened, a crucial market for France and all of the 27, for our businesses and our jobs.”

Polls in France have next year’s Presidential contest as a race between current President Emmanuel Macron and far-right National Rally candidate Marine Le Pen.

But Mr Barnier is hoping to make a strong showing in the first round of the contest, which is scheduled for April 2022.

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