'Rude' Barnier accused of 'digging up old wounds' as furious EU chief attacks UK on Brexit

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In his 500-page dairies, called “The Grand Illusion: A Secret Diary of Brexit”, the former EU chief Brexit negotiator delivered his personal outcome of the Brexit negotiations which lasted four and a half years. During the talks, both sides discussed issues ranging from citizens’ rights, money, Northern Ireland, fishing, energy links and import-export regimes.

Express.co.uk has today learnt that officials close to Lord Frost, the UK chief Brexit negotiator and Mr Johnson have left shocked by Mr Barnier’s claims.

Officials last night told this publication about how the UK Government was “cooperative” and “friendly with the EU”.

A UK Government source said: “The ratification of the Brexit deal last week by the European Parliament brought an end to a very tiring and tense process of leaving the EU.

“We worked extremely hard to secure a deal which respects UK sovereignty in close cooperation with our EU counterparts.

 

“We are now looking to the future and focusing on ensuring that we can prosper outside of Brussels’ control.

“We see the EU as a friendly neighbour but Mr Barnier is simply digging up old wounds.”

A Whitehall official close to the original negotiations, said: “Mr Barnier is being disrespectful and rude not just to Boris Johnson but everyone involved in the negotiations.

“We were extremely cooperative and friendly with the EU during the negotiation process.”

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Referring specifically to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Barnier said there were often “repeated provocations towards “the EU by the British PM.

Branding them “pathetic” and “almost childish”, he said the EU had to act as the “adults in the room”.

During Mr Johnson’s time in Number 10, Mr Barnier also stressed trust between the two sides was steadily eroded.

He slated the Prime Minister’s “derisory… almost infantile” threats to walk away from negotiations on a trade deal, saying it was “a psychodrama we could have done without”.

 

He wrote in the extracts: “They will go to any length.

“The current team in Downing Street is not up to the challenges of Brexit nor to the responsibility that is theirs for having wanted Brexit. Simply, I no longer trust them.”

Although the 530-page book does not contain any explosive disclosures, commentators – particularly in Barnier’s native France – received it as the literary rite of passage all pretenders to the French presidency have to go through.

The 70-year-old – a former EU commissioner and French minister who has now retired from Brussels – has been multiplying French media appearances and photo ops widely seen as setting the ground to become a conservative candidate for the Elysee.

His decision on whether to run or not in France’s 2022 presidential election is expected to be revealed in autumn.



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