BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – Access to the European Union market for Britain-based financial firms will be linked to the overall results of trade talks with London, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday.
Britain and the EU will lose privileged access to their respective financial markets when the Brexit transitional period expires at the end of December.
But in some sectors financial firms could remain able to operate across borders if rules are deemed to be equivalent.
But even when equivalence does exist, the EU will remain free to grant access or not to specific sectors.
“The EU will consider whether our economic partnership will be accompanied by equivalences,” Barnier told a news conference in Brussels.
Equivalences “are relevant for the overall future relationship and need to be considered in that light,” Barnier said, noting that those decisions were not part of his draft negotiating mandate for a trade deal with London, which he unveiled on Monday.
“It’s all outlined in the political declaration already and everything is negotiated when everything is negotiated. So fish and financial services and energy, you name it, all has to be done before we sign,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.
Barnier said the assessment of sectors that might be considered equivalent will begin “immediately” and underlined equivalence decisions will be made “unilaterally”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for purely “technical” assessments on equivalence regimes and urged a mechanism to discuss equivalence decisions with the EU.
“Given the depth of the relationship in thi