Farage blasts Barnier after saying 'He told me I was small-minded!'
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Nigel Farage took aim at the European Union’s former Brexit negotiator who is standing on an anti-immigration platform to become the leader of France. The former MEP recalled when Michel Barnier branded him “small-minded” for not supporting the free movement of people. Mr Barnier has called for immigration to be suspended for three to five years.
Speaking to GB News, Mr Farage said: “Mr Barnier has moved on, he’s now running for French president on an anti-immigration ticket.
“I just can’t believe it.
“He told me in the coffee room in the parliament in Strasbourg that I was anti-business and small-minded because I didn’t support the free movement of people and now he’s running on the very ticket.
“You just can’t believe it.”
In February, Barnier set up a political faction under the “Patriot and European” name, triggering rumours of a bid in next year’s election.
Less than a year before the April 10 first round of the presidential election, none of the former mainstream centre-left and centre-right parties, which were shut out by centrist Emmanuel Macron’s victory in 2017, have chosen a candidate.
Opinion polls show that French far-right politician Marine Le Pen is likely to face Macron again in the 2022 presidential final-round vote.
Barnier, a 70-year-old former French foreign minister, is being closely watched by Macron’s camp as he could attract support from the pro-European, centre-right electorate the president is targeting.
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The chances of the centre-right camp qualifying for the second round of the presidential election hinge on it unifying behind one candidate.
Xavier Bertrand, who leads the northern region of Hauts de France, currently has the highest poll ratings among the mainstream centre-right candidates who have declared for the presidency.
But he has until now ruled out participation in any kind of primaries, which still have to be defined and may not even take place.
France’s main centre-right party, (LR), said this summer it would wait until September 25 to decide on the way it will select its candidate for the presidential election.
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It comes as French President Emmanuel Macron will arrive in Ireland later for his first official visit.
Mr Macron is to undertake a one-day tour of Dublin, and will meet with President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheal Martin, as well as visiting Trinity College and the Guinness Enterprise Centre.
It fulfils part of an election pledge by Mr Macron to visit all 27 EU member states, with Ireland one of only four countries yet to be crossed off his list.
A trip to the Phoenix Park is first up on his itinerary, with Mr Macron set to meet with President Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain in the morning for what is being billed as an academic discussion.
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