France is pushing for a “hard Brexit” as it seeks to undermine the City of London, ministers have been warned.
Jeremy Browne, the City’s special representatives to the EU has painted a gloomy picture of French intentions in a memorandum sent to the Government and the financial community.
Mr Browne, a former Liberal Democrat MP who served as a Foreign Office and Home Office minister in the Coalition government, described his meeting with the French Central Bank as the worst he had had in the EU.
“They are in favour of the hardest Brexit. They want disruption. They actively seek disaggregation of financial services provision,” he wrote in the memo, Mail Online reported.
‘The clear messages emanating from Paris are not just the musings of a rogue senior official in the French government or central bank. France could not be clearer about their intentions.
“They see Britain and the City of London as adversaries, not partners.’ The memo suggests that other EU nations who wanted good relations with the UK over Brexit were alarmed by France’s hostile conduct but were powerless – or unwilling – to stop them.”
France has made little secret of its desire to lure banks away from London.
Earlier this month, Edouard Philippe, the country’s new prime minister, announced a package of measures to lure big players to France.
The French government has also unveiled plans to slash corporation tax from 33.3 per cent to 25 per cent as well as scrapping the socialist government’s planned “millionaire’s tax”.
Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, has promised that the country would set up English language courts to handle English-law cases for financial contracts after Britain leaves the European Union.