Charel Goerens: “I’d have preferred the British had stayed in the EU”

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has been widely praised for his competent work in the Brexit negotiations. Liberal MEP Charles Goerens shares the view: Without Barnier’s broad knowledge and his serenity, an agreement with Britain would not have been possible. He never let himself get carried away. In Goerens opinion, there could be no winner in those negotiations anyway. Rather, the aim was to limit the damage on both sides. Better a reasonable deal than none at all!

Still, the fact remains that the Brexit earthquake will have repercussions, says the former DP minis-ter. He underlines for instance the growing tensions over the independence of Scotland and the many British people, especially the young, who have taken to the streets since the Brexit referen-dum in pro-EU demonstrations.

The possibility for both sides to reevaluate certain points from the agreement in a few years’ time – e.g. the fishing quotas, which are particularly well suited to populist actions -, Charles Goerens sees it rather pragmatically. That was one of the clauses necessary to be able to reach a compromise. This is how politics works, and that is the price we have to pay for a deal.

As for the practical implications for the non-British in the UK, the liberal MEP insists that those legally in the UK will keep their rights. For people without residence permit, however, it would be more difficult to get one. He therefore regrets that his proposal of a European citizenship was not retained.

For Charles Goerens, it’s very clear that the Brexit will not lead to an increase of Britain’s influence in the world. However, that also applies to the EU. Apart from that, he would have preferred the British to stay in the EU in the first place…


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