London could not remain Europe’s financial centre if Britain left the European Union at an upcoming referendum, top European politicians said on Monday, warning that reaching a free trade agreement with Britain would not be the bloc’s priority.
Painting a bleak picture for Britain outside the EU during a simulated negotiation of what would happen in the event of an “out” vote, politicians from several European countries said Britain would not be able to “cherry pick” a new deal post-exit.
“There is no such thing as a free lunch. Brexit is something which does not only affect you but affects our country,” said former German deputy finance minister Steffen Kampeter.
“The cherry-picking proposal, after torturing us over months, is not acceptable.”
Kampeter said Germans would not back their government agreeing to a post-Brexit deal that gave London an advantage over Frankfurt as a financial centre, while former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton said Dublin would seek to take London’s crown.