Former French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier has been appointed on Wednesday to lead the European Union's negotiations with Britain over Brexit. He will take up his post on October, 1.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stressed that he "wanted an experienced politician for this difficult job".
“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,” said Juncker.
In a tweet, Mr Barnier said he was honoured to be appointed to the role: “honoured to be entrusted UK negotiation by @JunckerEU and @EU_Commission. Rendez-vous for beginning of demanding task on 1 October.”
Mr Barnier will work with his British Brexit minister David Davis, who was at the forefront of the campaign to leave the EU. Negotiations will only begin when Article 50 is triggered.
Mr Barnier is known as a tough negotiator. A former EU commissioner for financial services, Mr Barnier led the EU's banking reforms. During 2010-2014 Mr Barnier oversaw more than 40 laws aimed at toughening regulations on banks and markets, including measures to cap banker bonuses and to crackdown on short selling.
European Council President Donald Tusk, who chairs EU summits, had previously appointed Belgian EU official Didier Seeuws to oversee preparations for the Brexit negotiations. It was not immediately clear what the relationship between Mr Barnier and Mr Seeuws would be.