Michel Barnier

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Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier.jpg
Occupation France’s Commissioner In Charge Of The Internal Market
Location France/ EU

Michel Barnier is a French politician and former foreign minister. In July of 2016 European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker appointed him to lead the EU's Brexit negotiations with the UK, effective Oct. 1, 2016.[1] In that role, he will oversee a commission task force and be advised by the officials most relevant to the Brexit talks. He will prepare for formal talks under Article 50 of the EU treaty and conduct negotiations with the UK once the exit process is triggered. He reports directly to Mr. Juncker.

Barnier has been France’s minister of agriculture and then of foreign affairs as well as a member of the European Parliament. He also served two stints as an EU commissioner.

In November of 2009, he was named France's commissioner in charge of the internal market.[2] The appointment the EU's internal market chief raised tensions in Franco-British relations after French President Nicolas Sarkozy heralded it as a victory of the European model over the excesses of the Anglo-Saxon version.[3]


Barnier first got involved in politics at the age of 15 and achieved national prominence in 1986 when he won Albertville's bid to host the 1992 Winter Olympics in Savoy.

He served as France's foreign minister for just a year between 2004 and 2005, but lost his job after his Government lost the European Constitution referendum.[4]

Barnier was head of banking legislation from 2010-2014. He issued about 40 proposals on financial services that rewrote Europe’s rules for banks, markets and insurance after the 2008 financial crisis and built a banking union for the eurozone. He championed the idea (which arose in the European Parliament) of imposing a cap on banker bonuses[5] and also argued in favor of cracking down on short selling, angering some in the City of London.[6]

He is Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honour).