The EU will not do a post-Brexit trade with the U.K. that includes financial services, its chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told a group of European newspapers.
Barnier said that the loss of access for the City of London was a consequence of the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU single market. “There is no place [for financial services]. There is not a single trade agreement that is open to financial services. It doesn’t exist,” Barnier told the Guardian.
“[It is the consequence of] the red lines that the British have chosen themselves. In leaving the single market, they lose the financial services passport.”
The U.K.’s Brexit Secretary David Davis has said that he is seeking a “Canada plus plus plus” trade deal including services, which make up the bulk of the U.K. economy.
Barnier has previously said that a full trade deal will be impossible to strike before the U.K.’s exit date of March 2019. But in the interview, he acknowledged it would be possible to hammer out a deal in a subsequent two-year transition period. But he said that all 35 EU national and regional parliaments will have to ratify it. He also said that the U.K. can negotiate its own trade agreements during the proposed two-year transition period — but will have to wait until the period is over before the agreements can come into force.
Barnier also said that the U.K. must follow EU rules during the proposed transition period, even new laws passed after March 2019, when the U.K. formally leaves the EU.
Asked about Barnier’s interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Irish ambassador to the U.K. Adrian O’Neill said: “Mr. Barnier is the chief EU negotiator and what he says I think has to be listened to with great attention and care.” He said Ireland wanted the “closest relationship possible” with the U.K. after Brexit but would not elaborate on what they entailed.
Earlier, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to dismiss Barnier’s assessment that the U.K. cannot a bespoke trade deal after the chief negotiator was seemingly contradicted by his senior adviser Stefaan De Rynck at a speech at British think tank Chatham House.
De Rynck said that the discussion about a bespoke trade deal isn’t “particularly fruitful. Each is tailor-made.”
Zoya Sheftalovich contributed to this report.
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