French domestic policy has unexpectedly raised a buzz in Britain. The reason for this was the former Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: he used to be adamant about the new British nationalism and the desire of London to regain control of the borders, and now called for a few years to stop immigration in France and strengthen the Schengen borders. The British considered this idea absurd, harmful and impudent, says the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.
The British are amazed by the actions of Michel Barnier, writes the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.
Domestic policy of France does not often cause excitement in the UK, the newspaper notes. However, former EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier managed to provoke him. Barnier’s sudden demand to stop the admission of migrants from countries outside the EU for a period of three to five years and at the same time to strengthen the external borders of Schengen has caused delight among supporters of Brexit and criticism and surprise from those who advocated staying in the EU.
Right-wing populist Nigel Farage mockingly remarked: “The hero of Europhiles has become a Eurosceptic.” Tory MP Michael Fabrikant contrasted Barnier with the virtues of Boris Johnson: “While liberal Britain recognizes the value of immigration through a new quota system, France is threatening to close its borders, in part because of a complete failure to integrate its migrants.”
During the Brexit years, supporters of leaving the EU saw Barnier as an unwavering critic of the new British nationalism. Most of the supporters of staying in Europe, in turn, saw in him the voice of reason. Now John Springford of the EU-friendly Center for European Reforms calls the Barnier initiative “Absurd and incredibly harmful.”
While left-wing liberal newspapers were extremely restrained in reporting, if any, about political change in the minds of the French, the Brexit-backing media did not hesitate to comment, the German newspaper said.
So, the British newspaper Daily Mail counted “Insolence” the fact that Barnier used to constantly criticize London’s desire to regain control of the borders, and now “Cheerfully suggests the same.” However, if he thereby nevertheless admits, “That Brussels is not always right”, that is “A wonderful change in thinking” noted the edition.
Another British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, drew attention to a more serious point. According to her, the conflict with the EU, which ultimately resulted in Britain’s withdrawal from the European bloc of states, could have been prevented if an influential European politician had earlier declared his new convictions in the EU.
About “Irony” Financial Times columnist Gideon Rechman, critical of Brexit, also said: “If the EU had allowed much softer restrictions on freedom of movement, it probably would never have come to Brexit.”