Michel Barnier insists door is always open for UK to rejoin EU

Barnier says ‘door is open’ for UK to rejoin EU

Michel Barnier has insisted the “door is open” for the UK to rejoin the EU “any time”.

The bloc’s former chief Brexit negotiator said the “terms and conditions” involve being part of the single market and customs union.

The ex-Eurocrat also raised questions over how far Britain diverges from Brussels’s rules.

Asked by ITV’s Robert Peston how long it would take for the UK to rejoin the EU if it applied, Mr Barnier said: “The door is open, any time, I always say that during negotiation, after negotiation, the door remains open.

“But to be clear, the UK government, the current government, the next government, knows exactly what are the terms and conditions to be part of the single market, to be part of the customs union, to rejoin the EU.

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“The point is to know exactly what would happen during this time. What would be the size of divergence between us and a new candidate.”

Mr Barnier also accused former Prime Minister Boris Johnson of not respecting deals he signed during tortuous Brexit negotiations.

He said: “We signed with him not only the treaty on trade but the previous one, the first Brexit constitution, the divorce, including the [Northern] Irish protocol.

“So the point is not to sign a treaty, the point is to respect the treaty and to respect its own signature and I never understood, I do not still understand, how the Prime Minister of such a country, a great country like the UK, can be able not to respect his own signature.”

Earlier this year, Mr Barnier fumed that there is “no added value” to Brexit.

Speaking in January, he told Tonight with Andrew Marr on LBC: “Nobody, even Mr Farage has been able along these last five years to give me any proof of the added value of Brexit.

“The added value to be out of the union, out of the customs union, out of the single market. There is no added value to Brexit.”

He also insisted that the EU has changed since the UK’s departure.

He said: “Don’t underestimate the fact that the EU has changed. The EU is no longer what you left.

“We have changed since the last three years for the economic and budgetary governance.

“We have changed as far as energy is concerned, we have changed on the security matters. And we have to accelerate its change, just to give the proof to the citizens that the EU has an added value.”

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