Michael began his career at the OECD, Paris, from 1966 to 1973. Upon accession of the UK to the EU in 1973 he joined the European Commission in the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, where he had successive responsibilities for macroeconomic analysis and forecasting, the economics of forming the internal market and later the monetary union. His last position at the Commission was as its first Ambassador to the USSR and then Russia from 1991 to 1995.
From 1996 to 1998 he was Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics.
Michael joined CEPS as an Associate Senior Research Fellow in 1998, and has worked on a succession of projects, mainly in the European neighbourhood. These initially concerned the conflict zones of the European neighbourhood, including the Balkans, Cyprus, the Middle East and the Caucasus. More recently he has focused his work on the East European neighbourhood, with projects on Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Also concurrently on Brexit.