COLLEGE MEETING: European Commission reinforces Brexit team by setting up “Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom” (UKTF)

The College of Commissioners has today decided to set up a ‘Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom’ (UKTF) as part of the Commission’s Secretariat-General. Michel Barnier has been appointed as Head of the Task Force. The UKTF will include the current TF50 (‘Task Force for the Preparation and the Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU’) and the Secretariat-General’s ‘Brexit Preparedness’ unit. The Task Force, just like TF50, will coordinate all the Commission’s work on all strategic, operational, legal and financial issues related to Brexit. It will be in charge of the finalisation of the Article 50 negotiations, as well as the Commission’s ‘no-deal’ preparedness work and the future relationship negotiations with the UK. It will operate under the direct authority of the President and in close cooperation with the Secretariat-General and all Commission services concerned. Once the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by the UK Parliament, and the European Parliament has given its consent, the EU is ready to immediately kick off work leading to negotiations on our future relationship with the UK, in full respect of European Council guidelines. Michel Barnier will be supported by a Deputy Head of the Task Force, at Deputy Director-General level. Today’s decision takes effect on 16 November 2019 – regardless of developments in the UK – and has been agreed in close coordination between President Juncker and President-elect Ursula von der Leyen.