The ex-Brexit negotiator shocked his former Brussels colleagues by championing a “Frexit” from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The Frenchman said: “We must regain our legal sovereignty in order to no longer be subject to the judgement of the ECJ or the ECHR.” The 70-year-old, who recently announced himself as a conservative challenger to Emmanuel Macron in next year’s presidential election, also said he would hold a referendum on whether to halt non-EU immigration for up to five years.
Mr Barnier has left many of his admirers in Brussels disappointed with the creation of his eurosceptic election manifesto.
He won “European of the year” as a token for his efforts trying to keep Britain tied to the shackles of the EU during years of rancorous Brexit negotiations.
The former Brussels diplomat even suggested that EU countries are sovereign despite the fact they are policed by the judgements of the ECJ.
One dumbfounded insider, who worked closely to the Brexit talks, told Express.co.uk: “Irony, long considered one of the chief qualities distinguishing mankind from the lower orders, died today on the French Republican stage at the hand of the Brexit negotiator.”
Former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage branded his old sparring partner “the biggest hypocrite ever born”.
Earlier this year Mr Barnier called for France to halt non-EU immigration for up to five years.
His plan would even bar Britons moving to the bloc to allow Brussels time to evaluate its treasured freedom of movement.
The Frenchman claimed there are “links” between immigration and terrorism and called the EU’s external borders a sieve”.
He warned voters are “angry” about new arrivals on the continent.
At the time, Mujtaba Rahman, of risk analysts Eurasia Group, said: “All of the principles he defended and spoke for during the Brexit negotiation have been chucked out of the window to serve his political ambitions.”
Mr Barnier announced himself as a right-wing candidate against President Macron in next year’s ballot late last month
Asked why he wanted to challenge President Macron, Mr Barnier has said he wanted to “change the country”.
Mr Barnier has previously had a long career in European and French politics.
He served as France’s foreign affairs minister under President Jacques Chirac, as agriculture minister under Nicolas Sarkozy and environment minister under Francois Mitterrand.