Emmanuel Macron to PM Theresa May: There Will Be No Special Brexit Deal for the City

Jérémy Barande [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Tonight, Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, reiterated his tough position on the access of financial services to the EU market after Brexit, saying that there would be no special deal for the City.

Macron said that there could be “no differentiated access to financial services” for nations that are outside the European Union and that the United Kingdom would have to choose between the status quo of the Single Market or a Canada-style trade deal that has more restrictions.

The remarks were made during the first official visit to the United Kingdom of the French President since his election in 2017 Macron. He said that he was in the United Kingdom “neither to punish nor to reward.” He highlighted the “very strong human bonds” between both nations.

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister hosted Macron at Sandhurst, the officer training base of the military, in a move that is designed to emphasise joint defence efforts in what she described as the “enduring alliance between the UK and France.” PM May also promised extra funding amounting to £45m to border security to Calais.

According to Christian Noyer, the French finance chief, warnings regarding the impact of Brexit on the City have been overblown. This morning, he told the BBC: “I do believe that in any case, London will remain the most important financial centre.”

Noyer is formerly the governor of the Bank of France. He is now leading French efforts to convince banks to choose Paris as a location after Brexit. However, he said that even if London does manage to lose jobs “it is not a catastrophe for the City.”

His comments were echoed by Catherine McGuinness, the policy chair of the City of London Corporation. She said that the job losses would be at the lower end of earlier predictions which usually ranged from 3,000 to 75,000 people. However, she repeated her call for mutual market access for the financial services of the European Union and the United Kingdom.

“What we would really like to see is an ambitious free-trade agreement reflecting the fact that this country has always been an ambitious trading country, covering services as well as goods,” McGuinness told the BBC.

The City of London believes that jobs will be lost to existing global centres such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and New York rather than relocating to cities like Frankfurt or Paris, even though some jobs will transfer to the European Union in order to proceed with serving clients in the Single Market.