In a speech at the London School of Economics on Monday, Luxembourg’s finance minister is warning EU leaders that hurting the City of London would switch its orientation towards of the Atlantic.
Pierre Gramegna urged the EU to ensure that the “number one financial center in the world” remains connected to Europe. He admitted that there is an element of certain EU member states wanting to “punish” the UK.
London ranks first in the Global Financial Centers Index. At number eighteen in the world, Luxemburg ranks second in Europe. Its tax regime is one of its biggest attractions and that is why many European companies have relocated their headquarters to the Duchy. However, the Dutchy’s economy minister has made clear that in losing London, Europe loses.
“I think that it is key for Europe – and I mean Europe with the UK – that the number one financial centre in the world remains in Europe. And in order to achieve that, we must make sure that we harness the City of London to Europe, to the continent,” he said on Monday Luxembourger Wort reports.
Among the companies to recently relocate their headquarters from London to Luxembourg are Citibank, JP Morgan, AIG, Lloyd’s, Hiscox, and Liberty Specialty. However, London hopes to maintain a share of backroom operations such as risk assessment.
To this day, London is Europe’s capital for Euro-clearing, currency trading, derivatives and asset management. Gramegna warned that business may not leave London alone, but Europe as such. “I find that a balanced final agreement with the UK, specifically for financial services, is in the interests of Europe itself,” the Luxembourgish said according to Reuters.
He urged the UK to follow the Swiss example when it comes to free movement of people, that is, by giving priority to residents in the job market rather than banning migrants. He also urged for less drama in the negotiations as “no deal” would be bad for both sides.