The EU’s Brexit negotiator continues to sound like a candidate-in-waiting for an EU top job.
European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier opened the new political year vocally discussing Europe’s future — possibly hinting at his own next career step.
“Now is not the time for defeatism,” the 67-year-old French politician tweeted Saturday. “Instead we need collective action in defense of our values, and a more robust and decisive EU.”
The former French minister, European commissioner, and national and European parliamentarian, who has been center stage throughout the 18 months of Brexit negotiations with London, published anopinion piece outlining his priorities for the bloc in 2019.
The English-language article comes days after Barnier discussed his vision for Europe in a piece for Le Monde.
While German conservative Manfred Weber is the candidate for European Commission president of Barnier’s European People’s Party, the French politician’s persistent speechmaking and tweeting on European topics have done nothing to quash rumors that he is interested in another EU top job after Brexit negotiations conclude.
Barnier finished second to Jean-Claude Juncker in the EPP primary for Commission president in 2014.
In his latest article Barnier called for a “Green Europe” that reduces air pollution and resource consumption, and for “an economy that serves everyone.”
While he is a member of the EPP, Barnier referred directly to liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt and signaled his agreement with Verhofstadt on governments and the EU needing to hold big tech companies accountable.
Barnier took a centrist path on migration: “Our response cannot be based on fears and myths, but nor can we ignore national debates and identities,” he wrote. “In addition to consolidating the EU’s Frontex border-management system and creating common hotspots at our external borders and beyond, we must also harmonize national-level migration and asylum policies as much as possible,” he added.
In a nod to the European Commission’s efforts to boost defense cooperation, Barnier argued that the bloc should do more to build common strategies and pool resources. “Europe can no longer afford to outsource its security,” he wrote.