Barnier fires French-made Exocet into creaking hull of EU Withdrawal Agreement

New Brexiteer Barnier torpedoes rules of ECJ, free movement, and Human Rights Court, in one speech

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2021

With its architect now against the principles he forced on the UK, is the Withdrawal Agreement now sunk?

Yesterday morning at 11am in the Atria Hall in Nîmes in the South of France, the EU’s former Brexit negotiator rose to his feet to address a crowd of supporters of the ‘Les Républicains’ party.

For three years Michel Barnier was ‘Chief Negotiator and Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom’, during the tortuous period when the EU sought to impose the most penal terms on the UK for voting to leave its empire.

In his speech yesterday, Monsieur Barnier effectively fired a (French-made) Exocet missile and blew a gaping hole under the waterline of what is now the creaking hull of the EU’s exit arrangements with the United Kingdom.

What did Michel Barnier say?

In his speech, Monsieur Barnier said that the EU’s Schengen area of free movement should be suspended.

“Schengen Europe must not be a sieve.”

We went on to say that France should not be subject to the totality of EU law or that of the European Court of Human Rights.

“We cannot do all this without having regained our legal sovereignty, being permanently threatened by a ruling or a condemnation at the level of the European Court of Justice or the European Convention on Human Rights, or by an interpretation by our own judicial institutions.”

Mr Barnier’s party then tweeted out his comments and Barnier himself retweeted this.

“On immigration, we must regain our legal sovereignty to no longer be subject to the judgments of the CJEU or the ECHR.”

(CJEU = European Court of Justice, ECHR = European Court of Human Rights. In French these are CJEU and CEDH respectively.)

Major media coverage ensued and Barnier’s Damage Control Team went into action

Within hours, Michel Barnier had deleted his retweet and went into damage control mode. He then tweeted out a message saying “Let’s stay calm!” Unfortunately for Mr Barnier, his own party’s tweet (which he had retweeted) was not deleted and we are showing that above.

Several weeks ago Michel Barnier formally announced he was running to be the Les Républicains candidate in the French presidential elections, to replace President Macron.

Why is this so damning for the EU and for the exit agreements it imposed on the UK?

The problem for Monsieur Barnier is that during the years of negotiations with the UK, he insisted on adherence to the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the ECHR. Readers will recall how often he talked about the ‘rule of law’ and the EU being a ‘rules-based organisation’.

The jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice is referred to 68 times in the Withdrawal Agreement (WA). It is referred to 31 times in the accompanying Political Declaration. Here is just one example from the WA:-


Binding force and enforceability of judgments and orders

1. Judgments and orders of the Court of Justice of the European Union handed down before the end of the transition period, as well as such judgments and orders handed down after the end of the transition period in proceedings referred to in Articles 86 and 87, shall have binding force in their entirety on and in the United Kingdom.

2. If, in a judgment referred to in paragraph 1, the Court of Justice of the European Union finds that the United Kingdom has failed to fulfil an obligation under the Treaties or this Agreement, the United Kingdom shall take the necessary measures to comply with that judgment.

Not only that, but Northern Ireland remains subject to the ECJ despite having absolutely no democratic representation in the EU at all. Northern Ireland has been hived off from the sovereign United Kingdom by the EU’s imposition of rules which have torn up the hard-won Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

One of the United Kingdom's most respected lawyers on EU law and an advisor to Parliamentary committees, Barney Reynolds of Shearman & Sterling, told Facts4EU.Org last night:

“He wants freedoms for France, but doesn't think the people of Northern Ireland are good enough for such treatment.”

Photo right: Barnabas Reynolds, Shearman & Sterling

Has Monsieur Barnier become a cherry-picking cake-eater?

Yesterday Monsieur Barnier made his position clear. He wants France to take back control. He will unilaterally stop free movement, stop or severely limit non-EU immigration, stop obeying the ECJ and the ECHR on laws it does not like, and once again become ‘sovereign’ in various matters which are in the EU’s sole control.

Photo left: Michel Barnier in Nîmes yesterday, credit: Les Républicains

In other words, he wants to “cherry pick” the parts of EU law which France will adhere to and those it won’t. He wants to “have his cake and eat it”. Readers will of course remember how many times they heard those words from the mouth of Monsieur Barnier for all the tortuous years of Brexit negotiations, aimed at the British.


No, Monsieur Barnier, we will not “Keep calm and carry on”. Your hypocrisy is on such a scale that words such as ‘stunning’ and ‘breath-taking’ barely do it justice. And speaking of justice, we do of course applaud your belated conversion to the ranks of Brexiteers. However it was the imposition of EU ‘justice’ and ‘freedom of movement’ which were two of the ‘bêtes noires’ of all those in the United Kingdom who voted to leave your creaking empire.

Given you do not consider that your own country - a founder member of the EU - should accept all of the EU’s laws, nor its most sacrosanct principle of ‘freedom of movement’, it is only reasonable for an independent country such as the United Kingdom to reject these too. And that means rejecting the current Withdrawal Agreement and NI Protocol and negotiating a new, reasonable one.

As you were the authoritative voice of the EU for three years of Brexit negotiations, resulting in the abominable Withdrawal Treaty, Political Declaration, and Northern Ireland Protocol, we now feel entitled to follow your lead and tear them all up.

We’ll await your réponse. One thing though. We can’t wait long, so please remember that “the clock is ticking, tick-tock.”

Oh, and finally, given that your plans to give back France part of its sovereignty would involve negotiating with the EU you may also want to remember that:

"There can be no renegotiation."

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[ Sources: Les Republicains | Midi Libre | Le Figaro ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Fri 10 Sep 2021

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