Michel Barnier says Brexit could happen in other EU nations
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Michel Barnier insisted it is not “too late” for France to establish a strong relationship with the European Union that safeguards its national sovereignty. Mr Barnier argued Brexit offered a series of important lessons Brussels should learn from to ensure the bloc avoids other member states following in Britain’s footsteps. Speaking to The New Statesman, the former EU Brexit negotiator said: “There’s two or three points linked to what I call the lesson of Brexit.
“First, less naïveté in our trade relations. A key point is a reciprocity in our trade relations.
“Number two, we need to know, speaking about industries or the strategic sector, who is buying what in Europe.
“Number three is we need to invest together, as we did through the new fund created for the Covid crisis.
“For the first time, we have decided to invest in common 7.5 billion invested in the future of Europe.
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“To invest in the key strategic sectors, invest against climate change. These are the right changes.”
He added: “And also, the last point, is to build a common migration policy. These are the four key points where we have to act together.”
Mr Barnier, who is currently on a tour of the continent to present his memoirs about his time as Brexit negotiator, also dismissed suggestions the controversial Northern Ireland protocol could be renegotiated.
The protocol was included in the Brexit trade agreement the UK struck with Brussels last year, a safety clause the EU deemed necessary to ensure the preservation of the Good Friday Agreement.
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The clause effectively designated Northern Ireland as a special trading zone, with the nation the only part of the UK still part of the customs union and the single market.
Mr Barnier said: “The protocol is not the problem, it’s the solution to the problems created by Brexit.
“There is a room for working on pragmatic and operational solutions to address some concerns of the Brits.
“But there is no way, in my view, to accept any renegotiation of this protocol.”
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The leaders of Northern Ireland’s four main unionist parties signed a joint declaration in opposition to the protocol on Tuesday.
The declaration is signed by DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, UUP leader Doug Beattie, TUV leader Jim Allister and PUP leader Billy Hutchinson.
In response, Irish premier Micheal Martin said: “The government is remaining focused, calm and flexible, in solution-mode around the protocol and around the relationship between the European Union, and the United Kingdom.”
Unionists in Northern Ireland have been vehemently opposed to the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which sees additional checks on goods arriving into the region from the rest of the UK.
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