Michel Barnier

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Michel Bernard Barnier (born 9 January 1951) is a French politician and EU official serving as European Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union since December 2016.



  • Being a member of EU comes with rights and benefits. Third countries (non members as the UK will be after Brexit) can never have the same rights and benefits since they are not subject to the same obligations. The single market and its four freedoms (which includes freedom of movement) are indivisible. Cherry picking is not an option.


  • It's not about punishment, it is not about revenge. Basically, we are implementing the decision taken by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, and unravel 43 years of patiently-built relations. I will do all I can to put emotion to one side and stick to the facts, the figures, and the legal basis, and work with the United Kingdom to find an agreement in that frame of mind.


  • The UK's decision to opt out of free movement rules and largely end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice means that the UK cannot take part in the European Arrest Warrant
  • Brexit was not our choice, it is the choice of the UK. Our proposal tries to help the UK in managing the negative fallout of Brexit in Northern Ireland in a way that respects the territorial integrity of the UK.
  • We are still not there. There are still several issues which remain unresolved, including that of Ireland, and therefore what I understand is that more time is required to find this comprehensive deal and to reach this decisive progress which we need in order to finalise these negotiations on the orderly exit of the United Kingdom.


  • [There are currently only two Brexit options - the PM's deal or no deal. Even if MPs decided to take no deal off the table, it would not stop it from happening unless there was] a positive majority for another solution.
  • Everybody will have to pay a price - EU and UK - because there is no added value to Brexit. Brexit is a negative negotiation. It is a lose-lose game for everybody.
  • On the EU side, we had intense discussions with EU member states on the need to guarantee the integrity of the EU's single market, while keeping that border fully open. In this sense, the [Irish border] backstop is the maximum amount of flexibility that the EU can offer to a non-member state.

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