The veteran EU politician whose proposed insurance industry reforms were ridiculed by the UK has been tasked to lead the Brexit negotiations.
Former French foreign minister Michel Barnier, who used to regularly clash with the British government and financial industry, has been appointed as the EU’s chief negotiator for the UK’s exit talks.
Barnier, who will take up his new post in Octo
ber, is “a skilled negotiator with rich experience in major policy areas relevant to the negotiations,” EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday, as quoted by media reports.
The reports suggest that the Commission wants to provoke the UK and play hardball by appointing Barnier, who is unpopular in Britain.
“He is no friend of the City of London,” the Independent
quoted former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg as saying.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if alarm bells are ringing across the City,” he added.
Barnier served as the EU commissioner for internal markets and services between 2010 and 2014, a period when he angered UK ministers with his calls for more financial regulation, according to a report by the Telegraph.
He introduced more than 40 laws to toughen the regulation of banks, markets and insurance during his term, the Independent
In 2011, the Confederation of British Industry called Barnier’s proposed reforms to the insurance industry as a “highly inappropriate” product of “laboratoire Barnier,” the Telegraph
In a past interview with the Financial Times
, Barnier responded to the criticisms hurled at him. He said that newspaper headlines which labelled him as the “most dangerous man in Europe” were “unfair and unjust.”
Theresa May and the insurance industry
MPs to debate second Brexit referendum