Barnier’s blockbuster

Brexit Bulletin

What's Happening? The Brexit negotiations aren't even over, but Michel Barnier is already planning a book on the subject.

He has four years of notes carefully filed away documenting the European Union's fraught Brexit deliberations with the British. But the EU chief negotiator, who let slip on Wednesday that he is planning a memoir, won't be on this year's Christmas bestseller — he won't put pen to paper until 2021.

"I think it would be worthwhile that I tell how I've lived these negotiations in more detail," Barnier told a business conference in Paris. "I don't just want to tell how we've handled the consequences of Brexit, but also why we need to take time to look into the lessons of Brexit."

Michel Barnier in Paris on Aug. 26.

Photographer: Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg

Those expecting what the Sun mischievously billed as a "laugh-a-minute memoir" may be disappointed; Barnier's previous literary efforts include the snappily titled To Rest Or Be Free: The Choice Facing Europe. Still, his insights from the European side of the table mean he is unlikely to have any difficulty finding a publisher. On Twitter, some would-be readers have already started making suggestions for the title.

The book's denouement will depend on what, if any, progress the two sides can make in the next six weeks. With both apparently still at odds over the level playing field and fishing rights, officials are increasingly pessimistic an agreement on future trading terms will be struck and ratified before Dec. 31.

Barnier is positioning himself either for the mother of all plot twists — or making an early move in the inevitable blame game if no deal is struck.

Edward Evans

Brexit in Brief

  • The pandemic has left U.K. firms too cash-poor to prepare for Brexit, according to a major institute.
  • Germany has scrapped plans to discuss Brexit at an EU ambassadors' meeting, the Guardian reports.
  • EU has lost trade chief Phil Hogan. He wasn't deeply involved with Brexit, but his departure will disrupt the bloc's other trade ties.

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