The European Commission (EC) has appointed former French cabinet minister Michel Barnier, as chief negotiator for UK’s talks to exit the European Union (EU). A move that could put London’s finance industry on edge.

Under the official title of chief negotiator in charge of the preparation and conduct of the negotiations with the UK under Article 50 of the TEU, Barnier will work with a group of director-general’s and report directly to EC president .

Barnier, who was internal markets and services commissioner from 2010 to 2014, led efforts to manage the eurozone crisis and establish EU banking reform. His role saw him oversee numerous laws aimed at tightening regulations on banking activities such as short selling and frequently clashing with bankers and the UK government over the EU’s planned cap on bankers’ bonuses.

“I wanted an experienced politician for this difficult job. Michel is a skilled negotiator with rich experience in major policy areas relevant to the negotiations,” says Junker.

In a tweet Barnier said he “was honoured to be entrusted” with this significant task and that he would begin in his new role on October 1, 2016.

Commenting on the appointment on national TV, former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, currently Liberal Democrats spokesperson for Europe says: “He is not going to be any pushover when it comes to the Brexit negotiations. Not only for the City of London but for the UK economy as a whole.”

These comments were echoed by economist and CEO at Equants Analytics Rebecca Harding who tells GTR: “The appointment tells the UK quite categorically that it cannot expect any favours. It says straightaway that the process is going to be tough and that negotiations will be formal and rigorous.”

“We cannot expect any kind of special treatment. This is equally as important a signal for other countries that might be struggling with Euroscepticism: it sends a clear message – if you go, it will be hard.”

Meanwhile, lobby group CityUK is more upbeat and says: “Michel Barnier has a deep understanding of financial services – an industry that has to be an important component of a successful new relationship between the UK and the EU.”

“We look forward to working with the Commission, the Council and the Member States to achieve an agreement that delivers mutual benefits for the UK and the 27 Member States.”

Barnier has worked alongside UK’s secretary of state for Brexit negotiations, David Davis before. Both were ministers for Europe for their respective countries in 1996.

The European Council has appointed Belgian bureaucrat Didier Seeuws, aide to former EU President Herman Van Rompuy, as its lead Brexit negotiator. The divisions of responsibility between Barnier and Seewus are still to be worked out.