Farage: Britain Will ‘Shut Down Paris, Frankfurt’ if EU Plays Bully

Skyscraper office blocks, including Tower 42 (L), the Leadenhall Building, commonly called

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said that if the European Union tries to force the City of London into regulatory alignment for financial services, the British can take the recent example of the Swiss, “undercut” the bloc, and, within a year, Paris and Frankfurt would be closed down as financial centres.

The European Commission froze Swiss stock exchanges out of the EU’s market this month; however, rather than forcing the non-EU nation into submitting to a new partnership treaty, Switzerland banned EU stock exchanges from trading its shares. As a result, EU traders were forced to use intermediaries, making trading with the country more expensive and slower.

The EU may attempt similar tactics if the United Kingdom finally leaves the bloc on October 31st in a clean, no-deal break, with the bloc insisting it will maintain its Single Market rules. Mr Farage believes Brussels will not be too aggressive, due to the strength of the City of London, the world’s second-most preeminent financial centre after New York City, and that the British could simply cut EU firms out of its markets like the Swiss.

Mr Farage, a former trader himself, told The Telegraph: “They can try these things all they like. Actually this mob are minnows. In global financial markets they are minnows… They can try and flex their muscles on clearing, whatever it is, but it will not work. Ultimately if you want to raise short term capital in Europe, you need to go to London.”

“If they try and threaten us in terms of capital markets and financial markets, all we have to do is break free, undercut them in terms of regulation and we will close down Paris and Frankfurt within a year,” the London Metal Exchange veteran added.

A report by the Centre for Banking Research at Cass Business School published in April said that the City of London would remain an international centre for finance after Brexit, and that there are clear competitive advantages to operating out of London rather than Paris or Frankfurt.

Such factors include the time zone, which allows for trade with the United States, the Middle East, and Asia; the global reputation of British business schools and universities; the high degree of capital market integration; and its laws and regulations.

Nasdaq.com also published an article in May explaining how Frankfurt “will not overtake London as the finance capital after Brexit”, citing the English language, culture, financial expertise, a long financial history dating back to Roman times, and the fact that the United Kingdom remains a relatively desirable place to live and work.

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