As Michel Barnier steps down as Chief Brexit negotiator, he commented about his time: “I am often asked this question. It could be that some things will become easier in the EU if the British are no longer involved, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case,” Mr Barnier said.
“The EU27 must now look to the future together, and the question of ‘what if the British were still here’ no longer arises. They are not anymore. The future is more important than Brexit.”
“I am convinced that Brexit will fundamentally weaken us. It’s always better to do something together.
“I realise that there are differences, but it would have been better if we had stayed united.
Michel Barnier said that Boris Johnson’s threat to leave without a deal was some of the most challenging moments as a negotiator.
Michel said: “There were many difficult moments in the talks with Great Britain.
“In 2018, for example, when the British Parliament failed to ratify the agreement that Theresa May had negotiated. Then came Boris Johnson. In November 2020, when Johnson and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met, everything looked like there would be no deal.
“For me, the most difficult moment was the UK Internal Market Act. With the clear intention of violating a contract that they themselves signed. After that, the EU27 moved closer together. And there was a new president on the horizon in the US who was very concerned.”
Mr Barnier went on to question the government’s loyalty to Northern Ireland saying: “The only thing I didn’t understand was the risks they were taking, with Northern Ireland for example,”
“We agreed not to bring any emotions into it; we would stick to the facts. We have also stayed out of domestic British debates.”