Barnier to decide French presidential race ‘in the fall’ – POLITICO


PARIS – Michel Barnier spoke of a race for the French presidency in 2022 in an interview with the weekly Point Wednesday.

Barnier, the EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator, said he would make his presidential intentions clear “in the fall”, in an interview titled “I want …”

Barnier, who was speaking before the release of his book “La grande illusion”, was presented as one of the options for the center-right Les Républicains (LR) party, even if the favorites remain Bruno Retailleau, Valérie Pécresse and Xavier Bertrand.

LR remains undecided on how to make the choice, debating whether to choose a primary-style system or simply support a so-called “natural” candidate, although the latter option would depend on the results of the regional elections in June.

Pécresse and Bertrand are both regional leaders who want to be re-elected, but Bertrand has already announced that he will run for president, regardless of his former party’s choice (he left LR in 2017 but was touted for a return).

Barnier prefers to avoid a primary, arguing that the party’s primary race in 2016 was “the source of divisions and personal resentment” between the contestants.

In February, Barnier launched a group called Patriot and European to bring together like-minded lawmakers. “I have a number of ideas and proposals to make, on all issues,” Barnier said. France Info at the time, including “state authority, decentralization and environmentally friendly growth”.

Pushed on his differences with Emmanuel Macron in the Le Point interview, Barnier, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Agriculture, questioned whether some of the president’s pre-pandemic tax measures had been fully understood, and declared that he would prefer to reduce taxes on production, to make French companies more competitive.

Barnier was invited to the European Parliament on Tuesday as MPs prepared to ratify the EU-UK trade deal he negotiated.

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