Today, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, appointed Michel Barnier, former Vice-President of the European Commission and former French Minister, as 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 TEU.
Michel Barnier will report directly to the President and will have at his disposal the best Commission experts. He will be advised by a group of Directors-General dealing with the issues relevant to the negotiations.
President Juncker said: "I am very glad that my friend Michel Barnier accepted this important and challenging task. I wanted an experienced politician for this difficult job. Michel is a skilled negotiator with rich experience in major policy areas relevant to the negotiations, namely as Minister for Foreign Affairs and for Agriculture, and as Member of the Commission, in charge of Regional Policy, Institutional Reforms and of Internal Market and Services. He has an extensive network of contacts in the capitals of all EU Member States and in the European Parliament, which I consider a valuable asset for this function. Michel will have access to all Commission resources necessary to perform his tasks. He will report directly to me, and I will invite him to brief regularly the College to keep my team abreast of the negotiations. 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."
Michel Barnier, as Chief Negotiator, will be ranked at the Director-General level and will take up his duties as of 1 October 2016.
The Heads of State or Government of the 27 Member States as well as the Presidents of the European Council and European Commission held an Informal Meeting in Brussels on 29 June 2016 following the Referendum of 23 June in the United Kingdom.
They agreed on the need to organise the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union in an orderly fashion. Article 50 of the TEU provides the legal basis for this process. Full Statement of the Informal Meeting at 27, of 29 June 2016.
In line with the principle of 'no negotiation without notification', the task of the Chief Negotiator in the coming months will be to prepare the ground internally for the work ahead. Once the Article 50 process is triggered, he will take the necessary contacts with the UK authorities and all other EU and Member State interlocutors.
Annex: CV of Michel Barnier.