Brexit: Barnier says question will divide UK for ‘years to come’
Michael Barnier sparked a brutal Brexiteer backlash after the top EU diplomat took a swipe at the UK during an award speech this week. Mr Barnier received the European of the Year Award from the European Movement of Ireland. This was the first time the award recipient was not an Irish citizen.
During his acceptance speech, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator took a dig at the UK’s future.
Mr Barnier suggested that a campaign to re-join the European Union is inevitable in the UK.
He said: “To be or not to be in the European Union?
“That is certainly a question that divided the UK for many years. And, most probably, will continue to do so in years to come.”
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The Brussels official continued: “For all those who believe in the EU project, this is not the time to sit back and be complacent.
“We need to support organisations like European Movement Ireland, which act as a bridge between the EU, Member States, and their citizens.”
Viewers took to Twitter to voice their outrage at the remarks, claiming “it is really sad you have been rewarded for a negotiation disaster between the EU/UK”.
One joked: “If you are the best, I cannot even begin to imagine how absolutely appalling the rest must of the nominees must have been.”
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Another viewer said: “What a joke receiving an award for trying to punish the UK for having the audacity to leave your EU club which is so wrapped up in red tape it can’t even get its residents vaccinated efficiently.
“I predict the end of the EU experiment.”
Others said: “It was not a grown up approach. If The EU could manage its own and others monies and not waste it, like a failing bank, it would be better place.
“Covid has highlighted how disjointed the EU is.”
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One viewer asked: “Did any Irish citizen apart from the Ivory Tower politicians actually vote for this man to receive this award on our behalf?”
Mr Barnier also paid tribute to the UK in his speech, saying: “Firstly, because whether the UK is an EU member or not, our paths are, and will always be, intertwined.
“As I have said before – never will I forget what the UK did for France, and for Europe, during the Second World War.
“And as President Ursula von der Leyen has said: ‘The bonds between us are unbreakable’ – even after Brexit.”
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