France is hoping that Brexit will weaken the City of London according to a leaked memo.
The memo was written by former home office minister and City of London’s Brexit envoy Jeremy Browne after he attended talks with banking chiefs, senior politicians and diplomats in Paris earlier this month.
The memo which was leaked to the Mail on Sunday says that France could not be clearer about their intentions and that these were not just the ‘musings’ of rogue senior officials.
Browne wrote that it is a ‘whole-of-France endeavour’ who have become ‘more giddy and more assertive’ following the election of Emmanuel Macron as president in May.
“They are crystal clear about the underlying objective: the weakening of Britain, the ongoing degradation of the City of London,” Browne wrote.
“The meeting with the French Central Bank was the worst I have had anywhere in the EU. They are in favour of the hardest Brexit. They want disruption,” he added.
The memo summarizes Browne’s opinions following talks held in Paris and Luxembourg, the latter whom he describes as much more co-operative and ‘openly enthusiastic for us to remain as Europe’s big financial services hub.’
In contrast he says that is ‘suits France to play bad cop and be tough on the city’ as they are ‘upset’ about Brexit and want to send out a clear messages and markers ahead of negotiations.
“France sees Britain and the City of London as adversaries, not partners,” he wrote.
He added: “It is entirely in line with the tone set by French representatives currently crashing conspicuously around London, making heroic relocation promises and pouring cold water on the propositions of alternative EU financial centres.”
Paris is not the only European city vying to attract business thinking of leaving the City following Brexit, Frankfurt, Dublin and Brussels have also said they would welcome businesses deciding to relocate after Brexit.
Browne suggests that the French approach may be beginning to alarm other EU member states that want to have a more co-operative relationship with the UK during.
“There is plenty of anxiety elsewhere in the EU about the French throwing their weight around so aggressively, but their destructive impulses are not being confined, and other EU countries that want a friendly relationship with Britain and the City of London are being marginalised,” he wrote.
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