Barnier shows intention to return to French diplomacy duty

Barnier Barnier

The European Union’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Tuesday (29 December) he saw himself serving his home country, France, in some capacity following his work on negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU.

“I will use my energy to work for my country,” the centre-right politician told Franceinfo radio when asked about his plans, adding that France was in need of “unity, solidarity and justice”.

“I am a patriot and a European. I never stopped being involved in the French political debate. I will see where I can be useful,” he said.

Britain leaves the EU’s single market and customs union on 31 December with a trade and cooperation deal that Barnier helped to negotiate over many months.

Barnier, 69, said he was now looking to “bring my contribution to my political family, which needs to be rebuilt and to the French political debate”.

Barnier, a former European Commissioner and French foreign minister who also secured the 1992 Winter Olympics for his country, made the comments less than two years away from France’s next presidential election.

“I want to take part in the collective process of bringing about progress in my country,” Barnier said, without elaborating.

France’s main centre-right grouping, Les Républicains, is currently in some disarray and has no clear leader after losing to centrist Emmanuel Macron in the last presidential election in 2017.