Trade

Michel Barnier set to lead UK Task Force in Brexit phase II

Michel Barnier will lead a “U.K. Task Force” in the next European Commission, effectively continuing his work as EU Brexit negotiator into the next phase of talks on a future trading arrangement, according to a Commission official and an EU27 diplomat.

An official announcement on the new role could come as early as Tuesday, following the weekly College of Commissioners meetings on the margins of the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.

The “U.K. Task Force” label would replace the current “Taskforce on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom” (or Taskforce 50 for short) as a sign that the EU is done with the divorce phase of Brexit and is moving on to the future relationship. That will only be possible if and when the U.K. parliament and the European Parliament ratify the deal reached between London and Brussels last week which was endorsed by EU leaders on Thursday at the European Council.

One Commission official confirmed that the Commission chose the name “U.K. Task Force,” because the acronym for Task Force U.K. (TFUK) sounds like an expletive.

The new group led by Barnier — a former French minister and two-time commissioner — would be effective once the Commission officially starts its work, which is likely to happen on December 1, a month later than expected. One diplomat said the task force would not sit within any one Read More – Source