Barnier: Brexit means Brexit - everywhere

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has used the bluntest language yet to tell Britain that UK-based banks will lose access to the single market as a legal consequence of Brexit.

Michel Barnier | Photo credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

21 Nov 2017

Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Barnier said that firms in the City of London will lose their financial passports when the UK leaves the EU.

Speaking at a Centre for European Reform conference, Barnier said, “On financial services, UK voices suggest that Brexit does not mean Brexit. 

He added, turning UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s refrain against her, “Brexit means Brexit - everywhere.” 


He continued, “They say there will be no changes in market access for UK established firms, they say joint UK-EU rules would be decided in a new, symmetrical process between the EU and the UK and outside of the jurisdictions of the European Court of Justice.

“This would contradict the April European Council guidelines, which are my mandate, which stress the autonomy of European decision-making, the integrity of our legal order, and of the single market.”

Barnier told the conference, “The legal consequence of Brexit is that the UK financial service providers lose their EU passport.”

However, he said there was a possibility that the EU could judge some of the UK rules as equivalent to its own, and said a good deal would facilitate as much market access as possible, while seeking to avoid a situation whereby the UK and the EU trade under WTO rules.

Barnier spoke at a day-long conference on ‘The Future of the EU’, which marks the launch of CER’s new Brussels office. 


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