Michel Barnier’s anti-European remarks sow consternation in Brussels

At the end of March, he left Brussels in a concert of praise. Even his detractors took part in the tribute, because, whether we like Michel Barnier or not, there was no doubt that the Frenchman, twice commissioner, was a convinced European. At the age of 70, he set off on a success, after having completed, on behalf of the Twenty-Seven, the very difficult Brexit negotiations with London.

Less than six months later, the same Michel Barnier, who would like to wear the colors of the Les Républicains (LR) party in the 2022 presidential election, sowed consternation among his most loyal supporters in the European sphere. Thursday September 9, on the occasion of the parliamentary days of the Republicans in Nîmes, this claimed social Gaullist indeed attacked the very foundations of this European Union (EU) that he has served so much and which has given him a lot.

“We must regain our legal sovereignty” on the issue of migration, he launched to the audience, and not be “Permanently threatened with a judgment or a conviction by the European Court of Justice or the Convention on Human Rights, or with an interpretation of our own judicial institution”. In essence, summed up his political training in a tweet, Michel Barnier no longer wants the French to be “Subject to judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union or of the European Court of Human Rights”.

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“He has just broken the image he had built for himself”

“How could such a sentence have been uttered by such a committed European? “, was moved, near the site Politico, the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune. On Friday, Mr Barnier’s performance in any case fueled the conversations of the ambassadors of the Twenty-Seven to the EU, who were having lunch together in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana.

“He goes further than the Poles, who challenge the primacy of European law from time to time! [les tensions entre Varsovie et la Commission sur le sujet se multiplient]. He has just broken the image he had built for himself. Not sure that it pays off politically! “, notes one of them. In Brussels, even his former collaborators do not hide their disappointment. “We are all shocked”, confides a senior European official, “It’s a shipwreck, a Faustian pact”.

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