Friday

23rd Feb 2018

Juncker names former rival as Brexit negotiator

  • French poltiician Michel Barnier will be chief negotiator for the Brexit negotiations (Photo: European Commission)

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker appointed former French commissioner for financial services as chief negotiator in charge of negotiations with the UK.

Michel Barnier, a 65-year old former French minister and vice-president in the previous Commission between 2010-14, was in charge of the internal market and services.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He sought the job of EU Commission president in 2014, but the task was later given to Juncker, his rival in the conservative European People's Party.

Barnier said in a tweet that he was “honoured to be entrusted” with the post.

He added: "Rendez-vous for beginning of demanding task on 1 October."

His official title will be "chief negotiator in charge of leading the Commission Taskforce for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom" under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

The UK has not yet triggered the exit procedure under Article 50, and British prime minister Theresa May suggested it is unlikely the UK will launch the process before the end of the year.

Michel Barnier will report directly to Juncker and will have a team of experts at his disposal.

He will be regularly invited to the the meeting of the commissioners to brief the college on the negotiations.

Juncker said he wanted "an experienced politician for this difficult job", adding: "Michel is a skilled negotiator with rich experience in major policy areas."

Most of the negotiations are nevertheless expected to be done by the council, representing member states.

They will have to navigate through the difficult two-year negotiations and find a balance between the UK's access to the single market in exchange for some level of freedom of movement from and within the bloc.

Barnier's France has been urging for a tough exit deal for Britain, as French president Francois Hollande faces challenge ahead of next year's presidential elections from far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who wants France to hold a referendum on its membership.

Analysis

EU's Article 50: the rules for Brexit

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty contains the rules that a member state wishing to leave the EU must follow. But it has never been used and leaves many unanswered questions on Brexit.

Column / Brexit Briefing

UK prepares to protect its golden goose in EU talks

Protecting the City will lie at the heart of the UK's EU exit negotiating strategy. But London financiers are among the most nervous Britons in the uncertain post-Brexit world.

Brexit unlikely before 2019

UK ministers have privately warned the City of London that Britain could remain in the EU until late 2019.

Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress

Italians, Czechs and Latvians perceive less corruption than a few years ago in Transparency International's annual ranking. The Berlin-based NGO said Finland was a 'worrying case', whilst Bulgaria - which holds the EU presidency - is EU's most corrupt.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  2. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  3. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  4. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  5. European far-right political party risks collapse
  6. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table
  7. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  8. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme