No special Brexit deal for the City of London or passporting for financial firms, says EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier

Lynsey Barber
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Barnier pours cold water on City hopes (Source: Getty)

The EU's chief negotiator has stamped out hopes of a special deal for the City after Brexit.

Michel Barnier poured cold water on the idea that a bespoke deal could be agreed for the financial services sector.

“There is no place [for financial services]. There is not a single trade agreement that is open to financial services. It doesn't exist," he said in an interview with the Guardian.

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He said that by leaving the Single Market, it was unavoidable that firms would lose passporting rights that allow them to operate freely across the region.

Chancellor Philip Hammond told the City in September that he would help craft a "bespoke deal" for the crucial sector in negotiations.

And Brexit secretary David Davis has outlined hopes of a "Canada-plus, plus, plus" deal that would mean ramping up existing deals with countries outside the EU to include services key to the economy.

Barnier has previously signalled a Canada model as a basis for a future trade model, but Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected that as not good enough.

But TheCityUK chief executive Miles Celic said that a lack of precedence for such a deal should not precluded one in future.

Read more: Hammond: UK is not looking for a "Canada" style Brexit trade deal

"It might be Christmas, but Michel Barnier doesn’t need to play Scrooge. Just because financial services have not been encompassed in free trade agreements to date is no reason to dismiss them from a future UK/EU free trade agreement," he said.

"Services make up around 80 per cent of the UK’s economy – and around 70 per cent of the EU’s, with financial services making up a significant component of that. It is vital for the future competitiveness of the UK, and Europe as a whole, that UK and EU negotiators work to secure an ambitious and comprehensive deal."

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