The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator said he will return to French politics so he can be “useful” for his country. He confirmed he would support the right-wing The Republicans (LR) Party rather than current President Emmanuel Macron’s The Republic on the Move (LREM) Party. Mr Barnier also avoided questions about whether he could run in the 2022 presidential poll.
He told France Info: “I will use my energy to work for my country.
“My only concern is to be useful to my country, which needs more unity, solidarity, justice, and also respect.”
During the 2017 presidential election, LR candidate Francois Fillon was involved in a corruption scandal.
He lost the election to Mr Macron.
Now the party is currently in disarray and has no clear leader.
Mr Barnier said he wants to serve France after spending the last year being involved in Brexit negotiations.
Britain leaves the EU’s single market and customs union tomorrow with a trade and cooperation deal that Mr Barnier helped to negotiate over many months.
He said today he was looking forward to “bringing my contribution to my political family, which needs to be rebuilt and to the French political debate”.
However, Mr Barnier said there were still some elements to define in the EU’s future relationship with Britain, including on foreign policy cooperation.
Mr Johnson’s deal was approved by 521 to 73 – a majority of 448 – in the House of Commons today.
During a specially convened sitting of Parliament, the Prime Minister said he hoped to work “hand in glove” with the EU.
He said: “Brexit is not an end but a beginning.
“The responsibility now rests with all of us to make the best use of the powers that we regain, the tools that we’ve taken back into our hands.”
The House of Lords is now debating the Bill and it should become law around midnight.
The UK formally left the EU nearly a year ago and the new partnership agreement will regulate ties from January 1 on everything from trade to transport, energy links and fishing.
The EU said in a statement: “It is of the utmost importance for the European Union and the United Kingdom to look forward, in view of opening a new chapter in their relations.”
A British Royal Air Force brought 2,000-page document, which had the EU’s golden stars on a blue leather folder, to Mr Johnson today as he signed them sitting at a desk in front of a backdrop of British flags.
He joked: “Have I read it? The answer is yes.”