The European Union will strive for close co-operation with Britain on financial services, the EU Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness has said.
But she said London cannot expect “equivalence-based” access to the EU financial market if it diverges widely on rules.
Yesterday, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey urged the EU not to pick a fight with Britain over its huge financial services industry after Brexit.
He said the bloc was demanding more of London than of other trade partners.
This evening Mairead McGuinness told the FT European Financial Forum 2021 in association with the IDA that the EU would strive for close cooperation on financial cooperation with the UK.
“We committed in the joint declaration alongside the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, to establish a framework for regulatory cooperation by the end of March 2021,” Ms McGuinness said.
“We aim to set up a flexible, non-binding framework, similar to the model we have with the US, a voluntary structure to compare regulatory initiatives, exchange views on international developments, and discuss equivalence related issues.”
“On the issue of equivalence, it is an area which we will discuss with the United Kingdom progressively, taking into account the UK’s regulatory intentions on a case-by-case basis and above all looking towards our own interests.”
“There cannot be equivalence and wide divergence.”
She said when the structures have been put in place it wasn’t the case that there would be a body of equivalence to be put in place immediately.
Much of the EU legislation remains the same as the UK’s, she stated, but the EU knows there may be different intentions sh claimed.
“I think what we will be doing is perhaps on a case-by-case basis rather than having a basket of equivalence granted immediately,” she said.
She said the EU is quite confident that what it has done to date has been quite effective and the financial services transition after Brexit had been relatively smooth because of the steps that had been taken.
But Ms McGuinness also said it isn’t a race and shouldn’t be about a competition.
The structures that had been put in place following Brexit were complicated, she acknowledged, but added that was the consequence of Brexit.