EU sets up team under Barnier for post-Brexit UK ties

Strasbourg (France) (AFP) –


The European Commission said Tuesday that its Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will head a new team to guide future relations with Britain after it leaves the EU.

Britain is due to leave the union on October 31, but will remain in a transitional relationship for at least 14 months while Brussels and London negotiate a trade deal.

Barnier's "Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom" will be a merger of his team that negotiated the withdrawal agreement and the EU's "Brexit preparedness" team.

"Today's decision takes effect on 16 November 2019 ? regardless of developments in the UK," the Commission said, with uncertainty hanging round Prime Minister Boris Johnson's bid to take Britain out of the EU at the end of the month.

Barnier was appointed Brexit negotiator by the outgoing head of the commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and will be retained by the next president, Ursula von der Leyen, when she takes office.