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Ireland comes first, and no financial services, Tusk tells UK

Ireland comes first, and no financial services, Tusk tells UK

That remains one of the most important stumbling blocks and EU Council President Donald Tusk said on Thursday the Irish issue must be addressed before wider talks can move on. Last week, May said not securing a special deal for the City would hurt both regions.

"I am clear not only that it is possible to include Financial Services within a trade deal but that it is very much in our mutual interest to do so", he is expected to say.

Faced with the world's biggest financial centre being cut off from a core market after Brexit, British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday that finance should be at the heart of a new trade deal with Europe. However, the proposal and its apparent inherent contradictions - in the context of the ongoing EU/UK negotiations - may not provide enough clarity to allow pan-EU companies sufficient confidence in the post-Brexit landscape to put their contingency planning on hold. Services are about common rules, common supervision and common enforcement, to ensure a level playing field, to ensure the integrity of the single market and ultimately also to ensure financial stability.

It means that in terms of financial services "life will be different after Brexit".

Mr Blair claimed last week that Brexit could "sacrifice peace in Northern Ireland" and a day afterwards Sir John threw doubt on whether the "still fragile peace process" would stay intact after our European Union exit.

Britain's Chancellor Philip Hammond said he was not ruling out using equivalence in financial services regulation, although he did not like the EU's model of it, which allows the European Union executive to revoke the equivalence at short notice.

"Because of Brexit we will be drifting apart".




In his keynote speech, Hammond will "address the sceptics who say a trade deal including financial services can not be done", according to excerpts of the address released by his office on Tuesday.

Since my last visit here in Dublin, I have spoken to virtually every European Union leader, and every one of them - without exception - declared, just like Prime Minister Bettel did yesterday, that among their priorities are: protecting the peace process, and avoiding a hard border.

Theresa May said in a speech on Friday that a deal on financial services could and should be part of Britain's new relationship with the EU.

Britain's government has said it does not want a customs union with the EU, without which the EU says it would need to regulate Northern Ireland's trade to avoid a return of customs checks.

The two sides are still poles apart in key areas, in particular how to avoid a border emerging on the divided island of Ireland when Northern Ireland becomes home to the U.K.'s land frontier with the EU.

The EU has said it should be exempt from the tariffs as the bloc is a close ally of the United States. Talks on the future trading relationship are due to start after the summit.


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