Barnier to overthrow Macron? EU negotiator plans to ‘spark momentum’ in French politics

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After securing a trade deal with the UK, the EU’s chief negotiator stated his desire to return to French politics. Mr Barnier, a former minister in France, stated the centre-right in the country needs new momentum. Ahead of the 2022 elections, Mr Barnier’s return could pose a risk to Mr Macron’s re-election chances.

In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, the EU’s chief negotiator said: “I will tell about those four extraordinary years this spring in a book-diary.”

He also added a new change in politics may be “necessary for the balance of our country and for the French political debate”.

In the same interview, Mr Barnier hinted there could be disputes between the UK and EU in the near future.

The deal was agreed this month but will be up for review in 2026 where the two sides may make certain amendments.

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However, it will automatically roll over unless one of the two sides decides to revoke the agreement in 2026.

Mr Barnier added: “There is evidently a risk but I won’t make any unfounded accusations here.

“This agreement must be the basis of a smart and sustainable cooperation between Europe and the UK.”

One of the areas within the deal which has come under intense scrutiny is the issue of fisheries.

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The two sides agreed this month that EU fleets would be given access to the UK’s waters over a five-and-a-half-year period.

During the period, European fishermen will have their quota share reduced by 25 percent much to the anger of UK fishing groups who had called for a quota return of closer to 60 percent.

Mr Macron had been one of the leading voices calling for continued access to the UK’s waters.

Despite the UK being an independent state, Mr Macron had called for continued access in order to protect French fleets who rely heavily on the waters around Britain.

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Mr Macron had also vowed to protect fishermen ahead of the election in 2022.

While the EU has only been forced to return 25 percent of their quota, the chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations has called the deal a “betrayal”.

Andrew Locker told the Today programme: “I am angry, disappointed and betrayed.

“Boris Johnson promised us the rights to all the fish that swim in our exclusive economic zone and we have got a fraction of that.

“We are absolutely worse off. When we were within the EU we used to trade fish with the EU.

“We used to swap things we didn’t use with fish that they didn’t use and that enabled us to put together an annual fishing plan.

“What we have got now is a fraction of what we were promised through Brexit.

“We are going to really, really struggle this year.

“When Boris Johnson and his Government promised Brexit to the fishermen he promised none of us would be worse off.”

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