Britain formally withdrew from the EU on 31 January 2020, entering an almost year-long transition period that wrapped up with the sides signing a post-Brexit trade deal after months of intense talks and delayed deadlines.
Former EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has suggested that France may follow the UK’s example and finally withdraw from the EU.
Speaking at a conference on the future of the bloc in La Touquet on Friday, the 60-year-old French politician referred to “social unrest and anger” in France over unchecked immigration as well as the “red tape and complexity” of the EU.
“We could draw some lessons from Brexit for ourselves. It’s now too late for the UK but not for us. We can find, not just in the UK, but here in France, in the northern and eastern regions […] citizens who want to leave the EU”, Barnier asserted.
The ex-EU negotiator insisted it is the bloc’s responsibility to understand “why the British left”, and that it’s important for Brussels “to listen to the anger that was expressed in the UK, and to implement the kind of changes that are necessary to better understand and reassure the European citizens that remain”.