French bankers and the government would like the hardest possible separation of Britain from the European Union to weaken the City of London, according to a leaked memo published on Sunday.
“They are crystal clear about their underlying objective: the weakening of Britain, the ongoing degradation of the City of London,” Jeremy Browne, the City’s envoy to the EU, wrote in a memo first published by the Daily Mail.
“They are in favor of the hardest Brexit. They want disruption. They actively seek disaggregation of financial services provision. The clear messages emanating from Paris are not just the musings of a rogue senior official in the French government or central bank. France could not be clearer about their intention,” Browne wrote after a meeting with senior French officials at the beginning of July.
The Bank of France, the country’s financial regulator, on Monday, denied an aggressive tone in the discussions.
“We reminded them of our position that Great Britain has unfortunately chosen a ‘hard Brexit,’ the City of London, therefore, loses its European passport and that some financial activities connected to the euro will relocate to the continent. It’s a question of consistency,” said an anonymous spokesman, as quoted by FRANCE 24.
Following the UK vote to quit the bloc, several European cities, including Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid, Dublin, and Luxembourg began fighting for the title of the Europe’s financial hub.
As Britain may lose the passporting rights, big businesses may need to relocate to the EU area to be able to deal with clients in the bloc.
Shortly after the Brexit referendum, the Independent newspaper reported the head of the Paris regional government Valerie Pecresse sent 4,000 encouraging letters to small, medium and large international firms in London, highlighting the advantages of shifting to Paris.
Several PR programs have been launched by French authorities to attract international corporations to Paris, including “Tired of the fog? Try the frogs” and “Brexit cell” – an information hotline responding to queries from firms mulling a potential relocation from London to Paris.
Moreover, a new draft of measures to increase the French capital’s attractiveness, including eliminating the top income tax bracket was introduced by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
“This is perfidious France, isn’t it? Mr. Macron is trying to make a big name for himself with his friends in the EU establishment. It won’t happen because sheer economics dictates the UK will be the driver in services for Europe and a lot of the world,” Ray Finch, UKIP MEP told RT.
“The thing is, if any large economies indulge in a trade war, it damages everyone. The world is now so interconnected that we all have to work together as friends and as neighbors. If the EU is silly enough to try and push for a trade war, then everyone suffers. Frankly, I don’t think the presidents of say Russia and the US are keen on the EU trying to damage the world trade markets. It simply won’t happen. The EU and the world have too much to lose from it,” the politician stressed.