The European Brexit negotiator wants to preside over France

The man who negotiated the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union in the name of Brussels now wants to take the reins of the Elysee Palace. Former European Commissioner Michel Barnier on Thursday formalized his intention to run for the French presidential election of the conservative Los Republicanos party in the 2022 elections, for which he will however likely have to go through internal primaries in which several candidates are already running. the imminent arrival of the others is expected.

“I made the decision to be a candidate in the April presidential election (…) Among his priorities, the one who was also a minister in the conservative governments of Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, cited” unite the right, the center and other areas to reform the country “, as well as” limit immigration “or” returns “. place work at the center of our economy”, which must also be more “carbon-free”, a- he summed up.

Barnier’s decision comes as no surprise to anyone. The former senior EU official has flirted with a French candidacy since, with the entry into force of Brexit in December and the conclusion of the agreement that frames post-Brexit bilateral cooperation, later in March he ended to his long stay in Brussels, which started as an MEP in 2009 and continued as EU Commissioner for the Internal Market. His plans for the presidency of the European Commission frustrated, Barnier, 70, now aspires to contest the French presidency from his current occupant, Emmanuel Macron – who has not yet formalized his candidacy – and the far-right leader, Marine . Le Pen, one that the polls place in the presidential final.

However, to even appear on the electoral rolls, Barnier will likely have to undergo a competitive right-wing primaries process. Among the politicians who have already presented themselves are the current president of the Paris region of Île-de-France, Valérie Précresse, the former MEP Philippe Juvin and the national deputy Eric Ciotti, who also announced his candidacy on Thursday in the name of a “strong Right” which defends its ideas “clearly and with force, without shame”. The Republican Senate leader Bruno Retailleau should also join the internal race. Conversely, another of the potential suitors, the former boss of LR Laurent Wauquiez, announced on Thursday that he was resigning from his appearance in order not to “add division to the division” within the party.

Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Altos de Francia region, is also presenting himself on behalf of the right, who nevertheless made it clear that he did not intend to submit to a primary process.

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In addition, the card on the left has not yet been configured. Both the leader of France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and the communist Fabien Roussel and the leader of the Workers’ Struggle, Nathalie Arthaud, have already formalized their candidacies, further weakening the already tenuous possibility of forging a single left-wing candidacy. . However, the environmental field remains to be defined – in September the primaries will be held between Delphine Batho, Jean-Marc Governatori, Yannick Jadot, Eric Piolle and Sandrine Rousseau – and the socialist, where the name of the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, rings. every day stronger without being denied, even if other names are likely to join the race to the left, such as that of former minister Arnaud Montebourg. The former socialist has already argued that he intended to formalize his candidacy on September 4.

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