Michel Barnier

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Michel Barnier
Barnier, Michel-9568.jpg
European Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom's Exit from the European Union
Assumed office
6 December 2016
DeputySabine Weyand
Council PresidentDonald Tusk
Commission PresidentJean-Claude Juncker
Preceded byOffice established
European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services
In office
9 February 2010 – 1 November 2014
PresidentJosé Manuel Barroso
Preceded byCharlie McCreevy
Succeeded byElżbieta Bieńkowska
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
In office
19 June 2007 – 22 June 2009
Prime MinisterFrançois Fillon
Preceded byChristine Lagarde
Succeeded byBruno Le Maire
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
31 March 2004 – 31 March 2005
Prime MinisterJean-Pierre Raffarin
Preceded byDominique de Villepin
Succeeded byPhilippe Douste-Blazy
European Commissioner for Regional Policy
In office
13 September 1999 – 31 March 2004
PresidentRomano Prodi
Preceded byMonika Wulf-Mathies
Succeeded byJacques Barrot
Minister of State for European Affairs
In office
18 May 1995 – 3 June 1997
Prime MinisterAlain Juppé
Preceded byAlain Lamassoure
Succeeded byPierre Moscovici
Minister of the Environment and Way of Life
In office
29 March 1993 – 18 March 1995
Prime MinisterÉdouard Balladur
Preceded bySégolène Royal
Succeeded byCorinne Lepage
Member of the National Assembly
for Savoie's 2nd constituency
In office
12 June 1978[1] – 1 May 1993[2]
Preceded byMaurice Blanc
Succeeded byHervé Gaymard
Personal details
Born
Michel Bernard Barnier

(1951-01-09) 9 January 1951 (age 68)
La Tronche, France
Political party
Other political
affiliations
Rally for the Republic (Before 2002)
Union for a Popular Movement (2002–2015)
Spouse(s)
Isabelle Altmayer (m. 1982)
Children3
Alma mater

Michel Bernard Barnier (born 9 January 1951) is a French politician and EU official serving as European Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union since December 2016.

He has served in several French cabinet positions such as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2005, Minister of State for European Affairs from 1995 to 1997, and Minister of the Environment and Way of Life from 1993 to 1995. He also served at European level as European Commissioner for Regional Policy (1999–2004) and European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services (2010–2014); he also was vice president of the European People's Party from 2010 to 2015.

Barnier was appointed Minister for Agriculture in the French government on 18 June 2007, stepping down on 7 June 2009 upon his election as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). He served as European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services under Barroso.

The European Commission has appointed him as its chief negotiator in charge of the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU).[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Born at La Tronche in the French Alps, into a Gaullist family in 1951, Barnier graduated from the ESCP Europe business school in 1972.

Political career[edit]

National politics[edit]

Barnier with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, 14 May 2004

Barnier served on the staff of various Gaullist ministers in the 1970s, before being elected in 1978, aged 27, to the French National Assembly as Deputy for the Department of Savoie representing the neo-Gaullists, Rally for the Republic (RPR), serving until 1993.

Together with Jean-Claude Killy he organised the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville as co-president of the COJO (Comité d'Organisation des Jeux Olympiques).

Barnier first joined the French Cabinet as Minister of the Environment following the Right's landslide victory in the 1993 legislative election. In 1995, Jacques Chirac appointed him Secretary of State for European Affairs, serving as such until the defeat of the presidential majority in the 1997 legislative election. Barnier then served as a European Commissioner for Regional Policy in the Prodi Commission from 1999 until 31 March 2004. Then he served as Foreign Minister of France in Jean-Pierre Raffarin's government until 5 June 2005 when Dominique de Villepin replaced him with Philippe Douste-Blazy. He considered he was unjustly sanctioned for the victory of the "No" in the French referendum over the European Constitution.

In March 2006, Barnier was elected vice president of the European People's Party (EPP) for a three-year term. Under Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency, upon the reshuffle of the French cabinet, caused by the resignation of Alain Juppé after the 2007 French legislative election, he re-joined the French Cabinet as Minister of Agriculture.

In 2016, the French investigating judge Sabine Kheris requested that the case be referred to the Court of Justice of the Republic Michel Barnier, Dominique de Villepin and Michèle Alliot-Marie. These former ministers are suspected of having allowed the exfiltration of the mercenaries responsible for the attack on the Bouaké camp in 2004, killing nine French soldiers. The operation was allegedly intended to justify a response operation against the Laurent Gbagbo government in the context of the 2004 crisis in Ivory Coast.[5]

European politics[edit]

Barnier and Angela Merkel in 2009

Barnier worked in 2006 as a special adviser to José Manuel Barroso, the then President of the European Commission, and presented a report to the Council of Ministers proposing the creation of a European civil-protection force.[6] In 2006–2007, he served as member of the Amato Group, a group of high-level European politicians unofficially working on rewriting the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe into what became known as the Treaty of Lisbon following its rejection by French and Dutch voters.

Barnier led the UMP list in Ile-de-France for the 2009 European Parliament election. In February 2010 he was confirmed as European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services.[7][8][9] In charge of European banking system reform, he argues for a "coherent single market with intelligent rules that apply everywhere".[10]

He was twice appointed Acting Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship in Antonio Tajani's stead, from 19 April 2014 to 25 May 2014 while he was on electoral campaign leave for the 2014 elections to the European Parliament and from 1 July 2014 to 16 July 2014 after he took up his seat.[11][12]

As European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Barnier handled many important issues, such as the reform of the financial sector (40 pieces of legislation between 2010 and 2014), the banking union (starting with the Single Supervisory Mechanism) and the digital single market.[13]

From 2015, Barnier served as unpaid Special Adviser on European Defence Policy to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.[14][15]

Brexit negotiator[edit]

Barnier intervening in the European Parliament vis-à-vis the latest Brexit developments in January 2019

On 27 July 2016, he was announced as the European Commission's chief negotiator with the United Kingdom over leaving the European Union, under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Commenting on the appointment, Juncker said: "I wanted an experienced politician for this difficult job."[16]

Irish backstop[edit]

In January 2019, following the Brady amendment vote in the UK House of Commons, Michel Barnier said the Irish backstop is "part and parcel" of the UK's Brexit withdrawal agreement and will not be renegotiated.[17]

Barnier said to France's RTL radio: "Time is too short to find an alternative arrangement to the Irish backstop and Britain’s divorce deal with the European Union will not be re-opened for negotiation. We ourselves talked of so-called alternative arrangements which could prevent the return of a hard border. Only, no one, on either side, was able to say what arrangement would be needed to ensure controls on goods, animals and merchandise, without having a border. We have neither the time, nor the technologies."

Barnier said he hoped that UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting with opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn might produce new ideas. He said the EU was prepared to re-write the Political Declaration which provides the outline for a future trade deal.[18]

Timeline[edit]

Michel Barnier in the European Parliament in 2014

European Commission

European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services 2010–2014

European Commissioner for Regional Policy 1999–2004

French Government

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries 2007–2009

Minister of Foreign Affairs 2004–2005

Minister of European Affairs 1995–1997

Minister of the Environment 1993–1995

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament 2009–2010 (resignation)

National Assembly of France

Member of the National Assembly of France for Savoie 1978–1993 (became minister in 1993). Elected in 1978, reelected in 1981, 1986, 1988, 1993.

Senate of France

Senator of Savoie. Elected in 1995, but remains minister 1997–1999 (resignation; became European commissioner in 1999).

General Council

President of the General Council of Savoie 1982–1999 (resignation; became European commissioner in 1999). Reelected in 1985, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998.

General councillor of Savoie 1973–1999 (resignation, became European commissioner in 1999). Reelected in 1979, 1985, 1992, 1998.

Other activities[edit]

Honours[edit]

National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "VIe législature Michel Barnier". assemblee-nationale.fr.
  2. ^ "Xe législature Michel Barnier". assemblee-nationale.fr.
  3. ^ "European Commission – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – President Juncker appoints Michel Barnier as Chief Negotiator in charge of the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 of the TEU". europa.eu.
  4. ^ "Commission sets up Brexit 'taskforce'". euobserver.com.
  5. ^ https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2016/04/BENVENUTO/55185
  6. ^ Barnier as special adviser European Voice, February 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "Michel Barnier to take over internal market portfolio". Euobserver. 27 November 2009.
  8. ^ Philip Aldrick (30 November 2009). "Michel Barnier looks to calm City nerves about reform". The Telegraph. London.
  9. ^ "Summary of Hearing of Michel Barnier". European Parliament. 13 January 2010. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  10. ^ Castle, Stephen (12 July 2013). "European Union Offers Berlin Compromise on Bank Proposal". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Six commissioners head for EU election campaign trail".
  12. ^ "KUNA – Barroso announces caretaker replacements following resignation of 4 EU Commissioners". kuna.net.kw. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  13. ^ Five years of laying the foundations of new growth in Europe (PDF). European Commission. 2014.
  14. ^ Special Advisers to the President, Vice-Presidents and Commissioners of the European Commission European Commission.
  15. ^ Simon Taylor (March 9, 2015), European Commission special advisers European Voice.
  16. ^ Khan, Mehreen (27 July 2016). "Michel Barnier appointed as Juncker's Brexit chief". Financial Times. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  17. ^ "EU rejects calls to reopen Brexit deal". 30 January 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  18. ^ "EU's Barnier says time too short for alternatives to Irish backstop". 31 January 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019 – via uk.Reuters.com.
  19. ^ Sustainability and Legacy Commission International Olympic Committee (IOC).
  20. ^ Board of Trustees Friends of Europe.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Yves-Thibault de Silguy
French European Commissioner
1999–2004
Served alongside: Pascal Lamy
Succeeded by
Jacques Barrot
Preceded by
Édith Cresson
Preceded by
Monika Wulf-Mathies
European Commissioner for Regional Policy
1999–2004
Preceded by
Dominique de Villepin
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2004–2005
Succeeded by
Philippe Douste-Blazy
Preceded by
Jacques Barrot
French European Commissioner
2010–2014
Succeeded by
Pierre Moscovici
Preceded by
Charlie McCreevy
European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services
2010–2014
Succeeded by
Elżbieta Bieńkowska
as European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Succeeded by
Jonathan Hill
as European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union