Luxembourg minister: punishing City of London risks damaging EU
Luxembourg’s finance minister has warned that punishing the City of London by forcing companies to shift operations out of the UK after Brexit could end up damaging the EU rather than benefiting it, as these companies might easily move elsewhere.
“I think that it is key for Europe – and I mean Europe with the UK – that the number one financial centre in the world remains in Europe,” Pierre Gramegna told a gathering of students and journalists at the London School of Economics on Monday evening.
“And by doing so we will make sure that London can continue to perform well.”
Gramegna’s comments are likely to be seen as significant because Luxembourg, being an important European financial centre in its own right, could be seen to be a likely beneficiary of any exodus of businesses out of London and into mainland Europe.
Risk London could ‘drift away’
A “no deal” Brexit outcome would not benefit the UK or the EU, and could risk seeing London “drift away into the Atlantic”, Gramegna told his audience, according to a Reuters report on his speech.
He declined to put a figure on Britain’s divorce bill, a key stumbling block, stressing instead the importance of London and Luxembourg working hand-in-hand for mutual benefit.
“We want a co-operative approach with London as a financial centre,” he said.
Gramenga advised UK and EU politicians to “de-dramatise” the divorce talks, avoid megaphone diplomacy, and focus on the factual, the Reuters report noted.