Michel Barnier calls for non-EU immigration into France to be suspended for up to 5 years

Michel Barnier has called for all non-European Union immigration into France to be banned for up to five years. The EU’s former Brexit negotiator said immigration was “not working” in what is seen as a pitch to lead the centre-Right Republicains into next year’s presidential elections. “I think that effectively we need to take some time, between three to five years, and suspend immigration,” he said in comments aimed at sapping support from rival candidate Marine Le Pen. “I’m not talking about students, I’m not talking about refugees who must be treated with humanity and strength. But we need to rebuild the whole process,” he told French television. Mr Barnier has previously warned that France could follow the UK out of the EU amid “social unrest and anger” over immigration and Europe’s failure to defend its borders. He said Paris should hold talks with its EU allies about how to strengthen the bloc’s border controls and about the passport-free Schengen Zone. “The problems with immigration are not moderate [...]We need to talk to our neighbours about the Schengen Agreement, we possibly need to put in stricter border controls,” Mr Barnier said. Mr Barnier criticised Nigel Farage for his use of immigration in the Brexit referendum campaign in his recently published diary of the negotiations. "Extraordinary. The impact of Brexit is only just beginning," Nigel Farage exclusively told The Telegraph. "Immigration has delivered Brexit and destroyed the Labour Party. Barnier sees the electoral opportunity and he is right." Emmanuel Macron is expected to win the elections but the eurosceptic and anti-immigrant Ms Le Pen is expected to reach the second round of the vote and increase her support.