Barnier outlines plot to oust Macron & Le Pen –ex-Brexit chief hatches election masterplan
Michel Barnier says immigration should have '3 year suspension'
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The EU’s former Brexit negotiator said he has a “duty” to put up a fight against frontrunners President Emmanuel Macron and eurosceptic leader Marine Le Pen. Mr Barnier has held meetings with more than 100 right-wing politicians in the hope of revitalising France’s conservative movement ahead of next April’s presidential ballot. In an interview with France’s oldest newspaper La Figaro, he said: “Our duty is to propose, in the fall, an alternative to the announced duel Macron-Le Pen which the French do not want.”
Mr Barnier is hoping to reboot France’s conservative movement, which has seen itself flounder in recent years.
Ms Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally, has attempted to soften her image in an attempt to snatch away votes from the traditional Les Républicains ahead of next year’s vote.
But in a warning to his competitors, Mr Barnier said: “Make no mistake: within our family, what brings us together is stronger than you think. Those who wanted to leave have already left.
“For 2022, I believe in our ability to bring to us French people who had turned away from the right and the centre in recent years.”
The former eurocrat is keen to let French voters that he understands their concerns.
Many have voiced frustrations over Mr Macron’s globalist and pro-Brussels agenda, with some claiming the current president is more interested in foreign policy than French people.
Mr Barnier stressed that listening and understanding voters is crucial ahead of the vote.
“Priority to activity and work, respect and republican authority, control of immigration and adherence to the national narrative, reform of essential public services, from school to health in through justice: out of all these priorities for the country, it is the right that can best meet the expectations of the French,” he said.
The ex-Brexit chief has previously warned France could opt to follow Britain out of the EU unless its voters’ concerns are listened to.
Despite making a return to domestic politics since retiring from his post in Brussels, Mr Barnier has yet to announce whether he will personally run for the presidency.
He said: “I observe that the polls are progressing even though I am not a candidate.
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“Beyond what these polls say today and what they will say tomorrow, I want to see if I can be useful in working for the unity of my political family.
“Because no one has imposed himself! What counts is therefore the team, the collective, the unit.”
In the latest opinion poll, Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen are neck and neck at the top of the vote.
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Mr Barnier, who hasn’t announced any form of candidacy, didn’t trouble the scorers.
But in an Ifop poll, carried out last month, eight percent of voters said they would back him for the top job.
This still leaves him some 20 percent behind the frontrunners with about ten months to build support for his movement.
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