The European Union (EU)’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, received on Monday in Brussels the former leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, torchbearer of the advocates of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
The two men reviewed the state of ongoing negotiations between Europe and Britain, according to a spokesman for the European Commission, who recalled that Barnier’s door was always open to Europarliamentarians from the United Kingdom.
Although he resigned as head of his party after the narrow victory of the pro-Brexit movement at the June 2016 referendum in Britain, Farage regularly criticizes the conduct of the negotiations on his country’s departure from the Union.
Today’s meeting was yet another opportunity for him to attack the negotiators from the two camps. “Mr. Barnier clearly did not understand why Brexit happened,” the Eurosceptic said on his Twitter account after the meeting. “I left with the impression that it has not been previously explained to him that the Brexit vote was primarily about controlling mass immigration and democratic self-determination. It is clear that the government have not yet discussed border controls with Mr. Barnier.”
The British populist urged Barnier to “compromise somewhat” and to be prepared to give on financial services in the future trade agreement between the EU and the UK, because, according to him, Britain has already made many concessions at the negotiations.
The European Commission, for its part, did not comment on the content of today’s discussions.
The EU and the UK reached a first agreement-in-principle on the modalities of their separation in December 2017. The two parties are to begin discussions shortly on a transition phase that will follow the actual withdrawal of the UK, before beginning negotiations on their future relationship.