London's financial sector has taken centre stage after the UK triggered Article 50 today, with a leaked document from Brussels opposing any special deal for the City.
A draft motion from the European Parliament reminds EU states that they are not allowed to pursue bilateral arrangements with the UK's world-famous financial services sector.
The document also says it would not support sector-specific deals, including any pact on financial services.
The UK government has also opposed sector-specific deals in the past. However, in her historic six-page letter triggering Britain's departure from the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May calls for a "bold and ambitious" free trade agreement covering financial services.
May's letter to European Council president Donald Tusk says: "We also propose a bold and ambitious free trade agreement between the UK and the EU. This should be of greater scope and ambition than any such agreement before it so that it covers sectors crucial to our linked economies such as financial services and network industries."
Politicians on both sides of the channel have acknowledged London's globally-renowned financial services sector and the role it plays support economic growth throughout the continent.
"I am convinced that for Europe as a whole... it's in our own interest to have a strong financial centre in London," German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said recently.
However, today's leaked document from Brussels warns against "any bilateral agreement and/or regulatory or supervisory practice that would relate, for instance, to any privileged access to the Single Market for UK based financial institutions at the expense of the EU’s regulatory framework".
The document is signed by Guy Verhofstadt, who was appointed last year by the European Parliament to lead negotiations. It also "opposes any agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom that would contain piecemeal or sectorial provisions, including with respect to financial services."
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