The Nine lessons and Carols of Christmas evensong will be essential to the soothing of British souls. More than ever, in front of a Rubens Nativity, the Choir of King’s College of Cambridge will resonate around the world as a message of peace from one of the most beautiful ways to celebrate Noel or Weihnacht or la Natale or la Navidad.
As Theresa may found out when was defeated in the British Parliament, there is no blank check on Brexit. The UK Government will need to submit the final Brexit agreement to the House of Commons. Democracy is a winner, but her challenge is increasing with the strong minority she has. She will need to find ways to keep lawmakers aware of the key issues and get a green light. It is consistent with what she said she would do, but did not want to be compelled to accept.
After the shenanigans of the Irish situation, Ireland emerges as the arbitrator of Brexit. On the EU side, the Republic of Ireland has a veto right on the final Brexit agreement. On the UK side, by taking the Northern Ireland far right and nationalist DUP in her Government, Theresa May becomes hostage of the Unionists instead of the pro-European Lib Dem who would have contributed to the solution.
Europe gives UK the go-ahead for the next phase of Brexit talks.
Now that the main principles of the indemnification of the EU by the UK and the future treatment of UK residents in the EU and the EU citizens in the UK have been adopted, the moment has come to look at the future relationship between the UK and the EU. Brexit was voted eighteen months ago, and we only have fifteen months to do the real work. There is of course absolutely no way a comprehensive agreement can be reached between the parties in such a short time.
It was true from the beginning, it is compelling now. The need to create a framework that will provide a combination of some mutual recognition and a trade agreement. Why not “expand” the European Economic Association, known as the Norwegian solution? Taking this institutional structure for the talks will avoid the need to reinvent the wheel and improvise head over heels a new structure.
The City will remain the capital market of Europe.
For all the brouhaha in the media about Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris as new financial centers, bragging ostensibly, it would be foolish to consider a collapse of the City of London after Brexit. The reasons are facts, “more respectable than a Lord Mayor” as the British say.
· English is the language of global finance.
· 70% of the City activities are not EU connected. Asia and America are well established in London’s financial sector.
· Replacing the City’s infrastructure, built over decades, would take many years after the Brexit deadline passed.
· Talents are not going to move for the sake of politics and families have no plans to leave either.
· The regulatory framework of the City being outside the EU could play in its advantage.
· The last reports that 10,500 jobs might move out of one million is not an exodus.
The biggest danger for the EU would be a change of applicable financial regulation in the UK that might create a competitive advantage of the City, taking the arbitrage opportunity to loosen its rules. It is for that reason that everybody has an interest to find a compromise between mutual recognition and cooperation. This requires knowledge of finance and regulatory skills as well as a smooth adjustment of the capital market infrastructure. Restricting London would not so much benefit financial centers in continental Europe, but rather strengthen the position of other global hubs like Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York. London is an asset for Europe: don’t waste it.
Can trust between the City of London and the EU be rebuilt? Hopefully, hundreds of EU financial institutions established in London will make sure that it happens. It is in everybody’s best interest.