May Leaves Door Open to Paying for Access to the City’s Future
May to preserve the City as it underpins the British economy, while also satisfying pro-Brexit campaigners.
(Bloomberg) -- Asked whether the U.K. would pay for access to the European Union’s single market, Prime Minister Theresa May tellingly didn’t rule it out.
May said in a television interview with Bloomberg’s Editor in Chief John Micklethwait in Davos Thursday that she was “very clear that we want to develop a deep and special partnership, a comprehensive trade agreement.”
“Obviously we recognize the importance of the financial services and we want to ensure that we can continue to see those financial services, ensuring the City of London retains its role as a global financial center,” she said.
France’s Emmanuel Macron suggested over the weekend that a deal could cover aspects of financial services -- at a price that is both political and financial. Meanwhile, key countries like Italy say it would be “totally unrealistic” for financial services to be excluded from a final agreement. While so-called passporting rights are out of the equation, the rest is open to negotiation.
EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said that a Brexit deal similar to the free-trade pact struck with Canada is the most likely scenario for Britain once it leaves. That deal opens up services such as banking only to a limited extent.
May appeared confident that something could be worked out. She needs to preserve the City as it underpins the British economy, while also satisfying pro-Brexit campaigners who prioritize sovereignty and withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
May declined to be drawn into whether the reach of the ECJ was a negotiating chip. “What I see, talking to other leaders, is that sense we would be pragmatic about this and because it’s to the benefit of the EU as well as the U.K. that we have that good arrangement in future,” she said.
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