The European Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, spoke exclusively with The Model Telegraph on Wednesday; reacting to the results of the General Election, the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union and the policy of a government yet to be decided.
Throwing cold water on the ‘immigration proposal’ of the prospective Conservative-led coalition, in which the government would ‘seek reciprocal free movement’ with ‘most rich EU nations’, Mr Barnier said he was “overjoyed that the Conservatives have come around to the consensus on Freedom of Movement, if only because their governing coalition demands it…” Going further to say of the proposal, “there is an issue with only allowing certain countries free movement and not others… as far as I’m aware there is no way to simply allow the wealthy countries in and not the rest. Nor would we want that.”
…as far as I’m aware there is no way to simply allow the wealthy countries in and not the rest. Nor would we want that.
This comes as the Prime Minister responded to scepticism that the European Union would approve of a pick and mix style Freedom of Movement, in a question asked by DF44 of The Guardian. Mr 99 responded by saying “these agreements will be negotiated on a bilateral basis with the member states…”
It is unclear where this leaves the ‘immigration proposal’ and will no doubt prove a blow to the Prime Minister, whose concessions on immigration were intended to win over the Classical Liberals and Liberal Democrats. The Conservative Party has been approached for comment.
Speaking to The Model Telegraph, a Classical Liberal Spokesperson responded to the words of Mr Barnier by saying “non-EU immigration is a member state competency, so seeking bilateral mobility deals with individual EU nations is not a matter of EU commission competence.” Going further to argue “the commission has no say on that matter.”
When asked to comment on the intention of this government to ‘pursue a trade deal with the European Union’, with ‘association agreements with Europol, the EMCD, the EMA’, Mr Barnier said European negotiators “would prefer the widest ranging and deepest relationship as possible”, saying of this relationship “membership in the European-wide bodies is something we are willing to agree when we begin trade deal discussions, as well as discussing possible financial contributions that may be involved.”
…membership in the European-wide bodies is something we are willing to agree when we begin trade deal discussions, as well as discussing possible financial contributions that may be involved.
The Frenchman’s attention was then directed towards what is widely considered the alternative government, led by the Labour Party. Reacting to the policy of maintaining free movement of people, yet leaving the Single Market, Mr Barnier made clear the “the stance of the European Union that the four freedoms are indivisible. Freedom of movement cannot work without the other three, nor can the other three work without it”.
…the four freedoms are indivisible.
Reacting to comments made by a ‘European big-whig’ that “Sunrise+ is the preferred option of the European Union”, as reported in The Daily Mail, he described the conduct of the unnamed official as inappropriate. He expanded by saying “each politician in the European Union has their own opinions on which government they would prefer… I will not comment on mine.”
A transcript of the interview can be viewed here.
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