Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

UK, EU close to Brexit deal on financial services - UK official

There has been a massive rise in the number of British applications for Irish passports since Brexit Irish passport applications soar as Brexit approaches
Russell Knight | 02 November, 2018, 16:47

Downing Street would not be drawn on the November 21 date, with a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May stating: "We want to get a deal as soon as possible and that's what we're working to achieve".

The FT said EU Brexit negotiators were now considering a new proposal to compromise on an Irish "backstop" - an insurance policy to ensure there will be no return of customs checks on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland if a future trading relationship is not in place in time.

The European Commission's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier dampened hopes after he denied a report from United Kingdom daily the Times that a preliminary agreement covering financial services and data between the EU and Britain post-Brexit had been reached.

In the report, produced by the centre-right Policy Exchange, Lord Trimble said: "It is clear to me that the Irish side in the Brexit negotiations is undermining the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, riding roughshod over its terms and violating its spirit".

A deal that acknowledges equivalence ahead of Britain becoming a "third country" would dramatically speed things up, and early notice that it will still have even basic access to the European Union would help maintain London's position as a global base for banks.

This rise was conditional on the nature of Brexit, with a more disruptive Brexit having a negative impact on the economy and casting an upward rise in the bank rate into doubt. The positive momentum seemed rather unaffected by disappointing UK manufacturing PMI and dismissal of the news regarding a Brexit financial services deal by the UK/EU officials.

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In addition, London dominates Europe's 5.2 trillion euro investment banking industry.

Under the current system, Brussels can scrap an equivalence designation within 30 days in some cases - a step it has never taken - and Britain has called for a far longer notice period.

"Misleading press articles today on Brexit & financial services", Barnier wrote on Twitter.

"Equivalence" has so far had limited application, because, for one, under existing rules market access can be withdrawn unilaterally with only a month's notice, the Times said.

On the bright side for Britain, the scope of equivalence was substantially increased in January when the European Union updated its "MiFID II" securities and investment rules, letting banks and investment firms from outside the bloc undertake a wider range of investment and trading activities.

Currently, the European Union would be able to withdraw market access with a month's notice if it decides that a partner country no longer has equivalent financial services regulations.

The moves came amid mounting speculation that negotiators are closer to a deal than they have let on.

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