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

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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".

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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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