The deal that’s yet to be done
The City of London does not yet know what Brexit will mean
The likely answer: damage, but no disaster
Dec 28th 2020
CRITICS HAVE described Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, signed on December 24th, as “thin”. Nowhere is it thinner than on financial services, of which there is scant mention in the accord’s 1,255 pages. That should not have been a surprise: it was decided long ago that Britain’s future relationship with the EU in finance would be dealt with separately, and later. That the sector was not a priority for Britain’s supposedly pro-business Conservative government did raise some eyebrows. But senior Leavers recognised that there were more votes in protecting fishermen than moneymen—and took the view that Britain’s leading banks and fund managers were, in the meantime, big and smart enough to look after themselves.
This leaves a big question-mark hanging over the City, London’s financial district. It must now wait until January or later to learn what degree of market access its firms will enjoy in the EU in the future.
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Published since September 1843 to take part in “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”