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Friday, January 19, 2018

Reality bites on Brexit

Promises made during the referendum campaign that it would be possible for the UK to have its cake and eat it by leaving the EU whilst at the same time accessing all the benefits of membership, were very swiftly disabused yesterday by the French President.

During his visit to Sandhurst Military Training College, Emmanuel Macron rejected the idea of a tailored Brexit deal for the City, insisting Britain will not be allowed full access to European Union markets, including financial services, unless it pays into the EU budget and accepts all its rules.

Financial services is one of the sectors in which France hopes to seize an increased share of the EU market after Brexit. City firms are concerned about new trade barriers, including the loss of so-called “passporting” rights, that allow them to operate throughout the EU from headquarters in London.

Brexit secretary David Davis has said he is seeking a “Canada plus plus plus” arrangement, based on the EU-Canada trade treaty, but with additional access for services, however Macron very quickly rejected that option. The French President said the UK cannot be offered the same access to the single market that membership allows: “There should be no hypocrisy in this respect, or it would not work and we would destroy the single market.”

This is the reality that the Brexiteers have refused to acknowledge. Losing full access to the single market for financial services will see hundreds of jobs decamping to the continent and an adverse impact on our balance of payments.

If we have to pay in and accept the rules of the single market to counter that then the question arises of why leave in the first place. This is one more consideration that needs to be put to the electorate as part of a second referendum.
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