Former EU chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, plans to run as a right-wing candidate against Emmanuel Macron in next year’s French presidential election, saying curbing immigration would be a major policy pledge.
“In these trying times, I made the decision and I have the determination to stand up… and be a head of state France He said on the TF1 TV Evening News Show in a live interview.
Barnier, entering an increasingly crowded field on the right, has cited his long experience in politics as giving him an advantage in the race including “extraordinary” negotiations to find a Brexit deal. During the years-long process, he said, he had to work “with heads of state and government to preserve the unity of all European nations”.
When asked why he wanted to challenge Macron – with whom he worked closely on brixi Operation – Barnier replied that he wanted to “change the country”.
Seeking a more right-wing take on the centrist president, he spoke of the need to “restore state power” as well as “limit and control immigration,” reiterating a proposal to halt immigration.
Before becoming chief Brexit negotiator in 2016, Barnier served as the EU’s internal market commissioner from 2010 to 2014. But the 70-year-old is also a veteran of French politics, having held several senior positions including Minister of Foreign Affairs in a ministerial position dating back to the nineties.
Barnier is a member of the right-wing Republican Party and the most prominent of the party’s four candidates have announced their intention to run. The party may hold primaries later this year if no leading candidate emerges.