EU chief Brexit negotiator says financial services cannot "opt-in" to single market

 
Alys Key
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There can be no "opt-in" deal for the UK on the single market, Barnier warned (Source: Getty)

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator has said there can be no special deal for the financial services sector to "opt-in" to the benefits of the single market, and that a frictionless trade deal will not be possible after Britain leaves the EU.

Speaking to the EU's economic and social committee, Barnier said that the UK could not be "half-in and half-out" and refuted the argument that it would be possible to retain some benefits of the single market while also leaving it.

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"There can be no sector by sector participation in the single market," he said. "You cannot leave the single market and then opt-in to those sectors you like most – say, the automobile industry or financial services. You cannot be half-in and half-out of the single market."

He said a friction-free trade deal between the UK and the EU would be impossible, and warned that the decision to leave the EU "has consequences".

Read more: FCA chief executive says trade restrictions not 'inevitable' after Brexit

He advised business leaders to "assess, with lucidity, the negative consequences of the UK's choice on trade and investment. And prepare to manage them."

Despite his ominous tone, Barnier stressed: "There is no punishment for Brexit. And of course no spirit of revenge."

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