EU picks Frenchman to lead Brexit talks with UK
European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday (27th July) appointed veteran French politician and former EU Commissioner Michel Barnier to lead the negotiations with Britain on its exit from the bloc.
“I am very glad that my friend Michel Barnier accepted this important and challenging task. I wanted an experienced politician for this difficult job,” Juncker said in a statement.
“I am sure that he will live up to this new challenge and help us to develop a new partnership with the United Kingdom after it will have left the European Union.”
Barnier held the key financial services portfolio from 2010 to 2014, spearheading efforts to tame the euro zone debt crisis which nearly brought down the single currency project and put the banking system back on track.
He was also a key architect of the EU’s new banking union, whose creation often put him at loggerheads with the City of London.
He previously served as EU commissioner for regional policy and had stints as both French foreign and agriculture minister.
Barnier tweeted he was “honoured” by the appointment, which he will take up on October 1.