Sunday

23rd Apr 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Tusk dragged into 'political' spy probe

EU Council chief appeared as witness in a Russian spy probe in Warsaw amid increasingly toxic political climate in one of the Union's largest states.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  2. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  3. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  4. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  5. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  6. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  7. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  9. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  10. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  11. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTime to Turn the Tide and End Repression of Central Asia's Civil Society

Latest News

  1. France holds nail-biting 'anti-system' vote
  2. Le Pen-Putin friendship goes back a long way
  3. Mogherini should tell Russians their rights matter
  4. Le Pens Freunde aus dem Trump Tower
  5. Sexe et mensonges: l'information russe sur l'UE
  6. Report: Post-Brexit payments, ECJ jurisdiction could last years
  7. Oxford study raises alarm on 'junk' news in France
  8. Thousands to march in defence of science