European Union’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier attends to a meeting with Britain’s Brexit negotiator and the Britain’s ambassador to the European Union during post-Brexit negotiations at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 29, 2020. – The EU and Britain launch an intense five weeks of negotiations on a deal to define their post-Brexit relations on June 29, 2020, with London keen to wrap things up quickly. The new round of talks in Brussels will be the first to be held face-to-face since the coronavirus shutdown combined with the two sides’ entrenched positions to stall progress. (Photo by JOHN THYS / POOL / AFP)
The City of London has been Europe’s financial hub for decades, one of the major benefits of Britain’s 47 years of EU membership that ended on January 31.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s negotiator for future relations with the UK, said Britain was trying to preserve the benefits of membership for its big banks and investors.
“I will be blunt: its proposals are unacceptable,” Barnier said in a virtual speech to the Eurofi financial conference.
January 1, when a post-Brexit transition period ends, will “bring big changes” to London-based financial companies, he said.
“This should not come as a surprise to you. We have been warning about this for the past three years,” he said.
Barnier made his comments as the EU and Britain were holding talks in Brussels on forging their future ties after four months of fruitless negotiations.
Global banks from Wall Street and Asia are hoping to maintain their vast operations in London as much as possible.
Barnier said that Britain “would like to make it easy to continue to run EU businesses from London, with minimal operations and staff on the continent.”
“There is no way member states or the European Parliament would accept this.”