Eurosceptic MEP claims that Brexit was an EU plot and calls for it to be reversed
PUBLISHED: 09:28 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:47 16 September 2020
EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier (left) arriving from the Eurostar with EU Ambassador to the UK, Portuguese diplomat Joao Vale de Almeida at St Pancras International railway station, London. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Having accused the EU of wanting to stop the UK leaving the European Union, Eurosceptics have gone full circle and now claim that Brexit was an EU plot to force the country out.
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Pro-Brexit newspaper the Express has carried an interview with Eurosceptic MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel, who claims he is convinced EU countries wanted to force out the UK.
The German politician claimed it was “no accident” that former president Jean-Claude Juncker had “picked a French bureaucrat” for the job.
“I am convinced that French and other forces in Brussels actually wanted Britain to leave as it was always Britain which stood in the way of ‘more Brussels’ and ‘more government’ and ‘The United States of Europe’ and that Barnier, despite his public statements, would see Britain rather leave than stay.
“It is no accident that ex-president Jean-Claude Juncker picked a French bureaucrat for this job.
“That means he is highly intelligent, well educated and has perfect manners.”
Henkel claimed that the EU negotiator’s tactics “outsmarted” the Tory governments – in particular Theresa May’s team.
“In the beginning of the negotiations on Brexit he outsmarted the British government (Theresa May) by insisting that before they start discussing a Trade Agreement, the EU should have an agreement on the critical issue of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland plus a British commitment on the price of the exit.”
He continued: “Why did Theresa May agree to the sequence of items to be negotiated? Why were the British negotiators always so poorly prepared when they met with Barnier.
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“He always showed up with a stack of folders while his British counterpart had hardly more than a sheet of paper.
“Why did Britain change their negotiators so frequently? You may want to count them. Were there three, four or five while Barnier always stayed in the same job?”
And the politician, who sat alongside the Conservatives in the European parliament, went as far as saying he wish he could reverse Brexit.
“If I had a magic wand, I would vote for stopping Brexit altogether, warning it is a lose-lose situation.
“It is a lose-lose-situation for Britain and the EU. It has one other advantage: Michel Barnier would be without a job.”
Twitter questioned the politician’s surprising remarks.
“We should have known when Barnier forced us to hold the referendum,” quipped @stu_1991.
“Bloody EU, making us vote to leave,” wrote Chris Jones.
“This make complete sense,” said Peter Whelan. “Of course the EU wanted the 5th largest economy out of its massively successful free-trade zone.”
Ryan Love added: “Sure, I can work with this. Rejoin the EU! Don’t let them, ahem, force us out.”
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Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.