EU's Barnier says he plans to 'serve France' after negotiating Brexit

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The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Tuesday that he saw himself serving his home country of France in some capacity following his months of work on negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU.

“I will use my energy to serve my country,” Barnier told Franceinfo radio when asked about his future plans.

He added that France was in need of “unity, solidarity and justice”.

Britain leaves the EU’s single market and customs union on December 31 with a trade and cooperation deal that Barnier helped to negotiate over many months. At 69, Barnier is a former European commissioner and French foreign minister who also secured the 1992 Winter Olympics for his country.

He did not give any details of whether his future plans might include political ambitions, but France is less than two years away from its next presidential election in which President Emmanuel Macron will be seeking re-election. Macron's popularity has been suffering in recent months, dipping to 38 percent in September before rising to 41 percent in November.

“I am a patriot and a European," Barnier said. But he added: "I never stopped being involved in the French political debate. I will see where I can be useful."

Barnier said he was now looking to "contribute to my political family, which needs to be rebuilt, and to the French political debate”.

France’s main centre-right grouping, Les Républicains, is currently in some disarray and has no clear leader after losing to centrist Macron and his new LREM (La République En Marche) party in the 2017 presidential election.