Who is Michel Barnier? EU's Brexit negotiator and former French government minister

MICHEL Barnier is a senior EU politician tasked with the delightful job of negotiating Brexit — and is now the latest high profile figure to have caught coronavirus.

Since taking the position in December 2016, Mr Barnier, 69, has proved to be the right man for the job from the EU's side, showing himself to be a tough negotiator.

Who is Michel Barnier?

Michel Barnier first got into politics as a young Gaullist aged 15.

He came to national attention in 1986 when he won Albertville's bid to host the 1992 Winter Olympics in Savoy.

Diplomats in Brussels have suggested the arch-federalist still resents Britain after losing his job when the French government lost a referendum on the European Constitution.

Diplomats have said he is "far from a soul mate for Britain" and is hostile to the “Anglo-Saxon” free market model of capitalism.

On March 19 it emerged Barnier had contracted coronavirus.

In a Twitter message he said he was doing well with a good morale.

He said: "I am following all the necessary instructions, as is my team.

"For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together."

Even before Barnier's announcement, the second round of post-Brexit trade negotiations that was due to take place in London this week had already been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

What other jobs has he held?

After a term in the Commission as regional policy chief from 1999 to 2004, Mr Barnier has held a number of ministerial posts including foreign affairs, agriculture and environment.

He served as France's foreign minister between 2004 and 2005, losing his job after his government lost the European Constitution referendum.

Mr Barnier infuriated British ministers with his call for more financial regulation when he held the post of EU commissioner for internal markets and services between 2010 and 2014.

In 2006 he worked as a special adviser to José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission.

Mr Barroso fanned the flames of British debate over EU membership by insisting fiscal union in the eurozone will leads to "intensified political union" for all 27 member states.

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