UK told to not kid itself over ‘permanent equivalence’ bid

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has poured cold water on UK hopes that the country’s financial services firms will be granted virtually permanent access to European markets once the current Brexit transition comes to an end in December.

Barnier told the European Parliament yesterday that the UK should “not kid themselves” that the City of London, currently Europe’s leading financial centre, will be given an open-ended deal based around the concept of ‘equivalence’ – a form of market access granted to third countries if the EU is satisfied that a country’s regulatory regime is roughly equivalent to the EU’s.

Barnier’s comments came just hours after it emerged that the UK would be seeking ‘permanent equivalence’ for financial services in forthcoming talks on the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU from next January.

The EU has for years maintained the right to revoke market access based on equivalence by giving third countries as little as 30 days’ notice – something that the UK Treasury believes to be too short.

“There will not be general open-ended or ongoing equivalence negotiations on financial services,” Barnier told MEPs in Strasbourg. “We will keep control of these tools and will retain a free hand to take these decisions.”

© 2020 funds europe

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