U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May marks her 100th day in office today following a clash with her European counterparts.
With Brexit beginning to take shape May attended her first EU summit on Thursday, where she told fellow leaders that she hoped Brexit would cause as little disruption as possible. She predicted repealing the U.K.’s treaty would take just one year, according to an official with knowledge of the closed-door talks.
In a likely taste of things to come when formal negotiations start, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Britain faces a “difficult path,” while French President Francois Hollande was clear:
“Madame May wants a hard Brexit, that means hard negotiations.”
EU President Donald Tusk also told May that her desire for the U.K. to be a “strong and dependable” partner may be easier said than done as he ignored her protests to say that the remaining 27 members would continue to meet without Britain.
May insisted the U.K. should play a “full role” until the split is finalized. EU officials again said there would be no informal deal-making before the U.K. invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in the new year.
Charm Offensive for Banks
May’s government is seeking to quell fears among bankers that it won’t fight for the financial industry.
Brexit Secretary David Davis and Trade Secretary Liam Fox are launching a charm offensive to show they will promote the needs of the City of London in the divorce talks, Svenja O’Donnell and Tim Ross reported overnight. Bankers are worried by signs the government plans to prioritize immigration over free trade and won’t give the financial sector any special treatment.
Davis said Thursday that he is “determined to get the best possible deal” for London-based banks, while Fox is planning to meet finance executives.
Such olive branches will likely please Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, who at times seemed alone in promoting the financial industry, which generates about 11 percent of tax revenues and 7 percent of Britain’s jobs. Bankers have warned they may shift jobs and services overseas if Brexit robs them of easy access to the EU or restricts their ability to hire international talent.
Meanwhile, May’s office ordered a leak inquiry after briefings against the chancellor appeared in newspapers last week, an official said. Treasury aides also said May’s office was in closer contact with the aim of better coordinating messaging on economic policy.
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On the Markets
International investors are growing cold on U.K. government bonds, saying Brexit makes them more bearish. That includes managers with more than $4 trillion, such as Pioneer Investment Management and Old Mutual Global Investors. This bodes badly for a market that was already the worst-performing sovereign in the past month and helped drive a global selloff in October, according to Bloomberg’s Anchalee Worrachate.
What will become of London after Brexit?
The British capital, know as a center of so-called “soft power,” has long been a major draw for international talent and wealth.
Marc Champion looks at what life outside of the European Union will mean for the city of almost 9 million people and the bankers, university deans, tech entrepreneurs and Michelin star chefs among them:
Few claim to know how Brexit will turn out, or how resilient London’s allure may prove to any change, having become home to a possibly unique concentration of knowledge based industries -- from high-tech finance to movies. But the referendum result suggests London has become a victim of its own soft power success, triggering resentment among less affluent voters across the country at the wealth and immigrants flooding the capital.