Politics

Michel Barnier in ‘hilarious meltdown’ during Brexit deal row with Boris Johnson’s team

Boris Johnson: Brexit deal is ‘glad tidings of great joy’

It was one of a number of outbursts by Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, which became known as “Michel’s calm and serene moments”, according to The Sunday Times. A British official told the newspaper of the comical reaction to demands, which prompted his response: “Why do you keep mentioning ‘sovereignty?’

“All you do is mention this word.”

It describes another meeting in which an angry Mr Barnier yelled: “I am calm!”

The negotiation meeting in March involved UK counterpart Lord David Frost.

Aside from being a insight into the diplomat’s changeable temperament, it shows a difference in principles: EU leaders value pooling sovereignty.

This is further demonstrated by European Parliament Vice President Heidi Hautala describing the perceived British obsession with sovereignty as “pathetic”.

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Talking to LBC last week before the deal was struck, the Finnish MEP said: “I think the closer we get to the Brexit date, December 31, the more often we hear about sovereignty.

“From the EU’s point of view, this is a world where we need trans-national cooperation, where we need to pool our sovereignty.

“I find it totally pathetic to continue to talk about sovereignty in the modern world.

“I’m sure the UK and the EU will start to discuss common issues like climate change, as soon as they get past this difficult period.”

Mr Barnier is not the only EU bigwig to vocalise his inner tensions on Brexit matters.

Guy Verhofstadt, MEP and former Brexit coordinator, could not resist tweeting inflammatory remarks.

The former prime minister of Belgium took a swipe at Britain on Twitter after countries closed their borders following the discovery of a Covid-19 mutation – just before the Brexit deal was finalised.

It led to huge tailbacks in Kent and lorries forced to park at Manston Airport.

Mr Verhofstadt wrote: “We forgot what borders look like.

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“Some thought they would remain open with or without the EU.

“They will now start to understand what leaving the EU really means.”

MPs will vote on the Brexit deal in Parliament on December 30.

The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and left on January 31 2020.

The Brexit deal covers around £660billion worth of trade to allow goods to be sold without tariffs or quotas in the EU market.

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