Get your story straight! EU denies UK punishment plot – despite MEPs ALREADY admitting it
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Joao Vale de Almeida, the bloc’s ambassador to London, said the EU is “not punishing” the City of London by withholding vital regulatory rulings that would allow UK bankers and fund managers to keep offering services in Europe. But his claim comes after warnings that resentful politicians and eurocrats are keen to crack down on Britons for their decision to leave the Brussels project. On the delay to grant a so-called “equivalence” decision, Mr Vale de Almeida said: “There is no punishment.
“We are waiting for more elements from the UK.”
But pressure is mounting on Brussels to clamp down on Britain for its decision to quit the bloc and move away from its rulebook.
Green MEP Bas Eickhout said the EU should demonstrate there are “consequences” for the Brexit trade deal if the UK moves too far below the bloc’s standards.
And German MEP Gunnar Beck this week warned that there are still forces in Brussels wanting to punish Britain for Brexit.
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He told Express.co.uk: “The EU is still resentful.
“Among the real hard-liners, the mood is that God should punish Britain. And if not God, then we do.”
This could be demonstrated by the hold-up in the EU’s decision to make a decision on Britain’s financial services regulations.
Britain has already submitted 2,500 pages of answers to Brussels on its regulations covering banks, insurances and other financial services firms.
UK officials have argued the country’s rules are still equivalent to the EU’s because it only left the European single market on January 1.
But Brussels is insisting on more details on Britain’s future regulatory plans.
Under an equivalence decision, eurocrats would grant temporary access permits to allow UK financial services access to European markets if Britain’s regulations are deemed to be as robust as the EU’s.
The delay has led to claims by people close to Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the EU is trying to lure jobs away from the City of London to other European financial hubs.
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The UK and EU are in talks and expected to conclude a wider cooperation framework on financial services by March.
Yesterday the European Commission outlined plans to bolster the euro as a global business currency and end the bloc’s reliance on non-EU financial centres, such as London.
Mairead McGuinness, the EU’s financial services commissioner, suggested introducing “light touch” rules for the City of London could see its access to European markets revoked.
She said: “Can I just say very frankly that many of us remember that era of deregulation or light-touch regulation and we will not go back there again.”
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Ms McGuinness’s comments came after Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised a post-Brexit “Big Bang 2.0” reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of the financial markets.
The senior EU official hinted that she had perceived Mr Sunak’s words as a move towards a bonfire of regulation.
She said: “The whole purpose of Brexit was to diverge. and, you know, we need to know which road, the UK intends to diverge on and how many branches there will be on that path.”
“What we want to have as effective regulation, we do not like light touch and deregulation is not on our agenda,” Ms McGuinness added.
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