Brexit leader Nigel Farage has said that the “impact of Brexit is only just beginning” after top eurocrat Michel Barnier took a move towards the right and stated he backed a cessation of immigration in France for three to five years.
Mr Barnier, a former French foreign minister who most recently acted as the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, told broadcaster France Télévisions on Monday: “I try to look at the problems as they are, as the French people experience them. I think that it is indeed necessary to take the time for three or five years of suspended immigration.”
Barnier is a potential candidate for the centre-right Les Républicains party in next year’s presidential elections. His recently-declared migration-sceptic stance could take support from populist Marine Le Pen, as he taps into French people’s dissatisfaction with uncontrolled migration and its economic and social costs.
Nigel Farage, who as UKIP leader bucked Britain’s political trend by openly challenging the progressive doctrine of mass migration from the early 2000s, said that Barnier’s remarks signalled that the Brexit effect was taking hold in Europe, according to The Telegraph.
“Extraordinary. The impact of Brexit is only just beginning,” Mr Farage told the newspaper.
“Immigration has delivered Brexit and destroyed the Labour Party. Barnier sees the electoral opportunity and he is right,” he continued, with the Brexit leader having maintained for years after the 2016 referendum that immigration was the driving force behind Leavers’ triumph at the polling stations.
France Needs a 3-5 Year Ban on Immigration, Says EU Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier https://t.co/3hxkaUlfBF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 12, 2021
Farage also criticised Barnier for political opportunism, adding: “My agenda looks moderate compared to the new Barnier. What a dreadful bunch of careerists they all are.”
Indeed, Mr Barnier has a history of backing open borders and criticising populist eurosceptics who want to be able to control immigration.
In a 2011 speech, the Frenchman said that Europe “must… be a place which welcomes immigrants” to prop up the bloc’s welfare systems, and criticised the outcomes of elections in France and Finland where “citizens cast their votes for extremist and populist movements which are seeking to retreat behind their national borders”.
Barnier then declared “mobility” in Europe as the “source of human progress and personal fulfilment”.
Vaccine Fiasco Marks ‘Beginning of End of EU’, Says Farage https://t.co/TZQZUYL5Vx
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 3, 2021
Mr Farage has predicted before that Brexit would see the eventual downfall of the European Union, as the bloc is becoming increasingly divided socially — east to west — and economically — north to south.
Speaking as the United Kingdom finally left the EU’s institutions at the end of December 2020, Farage predicted: “What I can see, is conflict building up, north, south, east, west, within a European Union that just wants to build this modern-day empire with an absence of democracy.”
“I think in the broader picture, Brexit is the beginning of the end of the European Union. I’m pro-European. I’m pro-Europe of sovereign states trading and being friends — not being run from Brussels,” he said.
The Brexit leader found months later that it was not just the UK leaving the EU or the cultural and fiscal divides that threaten the cohesion of the bloc, but the EU’s management of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
“In the dispute over the delivery delay of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the EU Commission is currently making the best advertisement for Brexit: It is acting slowly, bureaucratically, and protectionist." https://t.co/sMJGn0Ni6M
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 27, 2021
The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, took over the procurement of vaccines from its 27 member-states, resulting in delays producing the jabs, which then prompted criticism from European media — with Germany’s Die Zeit labelling the fiasco the “best advertisement for Brexit” while the British progressed at pace with its vaccine programme — and allegedly from within national political circles, as well.
In February, Mr Farage criticised the European Commission’s “centralised bureaucracy”, saying that the bloc’s handling of the vaccine programme heralds “the beginning of the end of the European Union as we know it”.
“I think this is the beginning of the end — Brexit and now this. We’re going to finish up, I hope, in five or ten years’ time, with a European cooperation where we trade together, work together, agree to be friends and partners together — but not one where you surrender national sovereignty and give it to a bunch of losers in Brussels who make terrible decisions,” Mr Farage said.
Farage: “If this crisis has taught us anything, it is that the best decisions are taken by national governments acting in their national interest. It is for this reason that I say Europe must leave the European Union." https://t.co/PKDYxVxKAK
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 29, 2021