Brexit baggage

UK can only hope that talks under way to establish understanding on financial services end well for London


February 17, 2021

Amsterdam has stolen the crown that London hoped to retain after its messy divorce from Europe. The Dutch capital took over as Europe’s largest share trading centre from London, pushing it to the second spot. This is a serious blow to the UK’s ambitious post-Brexit plan of being a financial hub. The reality check for the UK came just six weeks after it left the European Union. While the political leadership may have underestimated the consequences of ending the partnership with Europe, the reality for Britain was always meant to be harsh. And so, it is.

Clearly, the Dutch capital’s new position isn’t the only insult. There is more to come. Anyone who understands financial matters would be quick to predict that this is just the beginning of the slow decline that was very much anticipated after Britain’s exit from Europe. Even while experts in the UK are downplaying the shift as a symbolic change, the numbers from the Dutch capital suggest otherwise. Amsterdam recorded an average daily trading increase from €2.6 billion to €9.2 billion while trading in London was 50% less than the previous month.

The question is simple: who bears the blame? The answer is also fairly simple: Boris John’s failure to ensure that financial services, which appear to be an important component of the British financial system, were not treated with greater importance during the Brexit talks. That is the primary reason for Amsterdam’s success and London’s failure. Now, the UK can only hope that talks under way to establish some understanding on future financial services relations end well for London. Unfortunately, while hopes are high in London, the mood in Brussels appears to be somewhat different. The Europeans seem to be in no mood to go easy on the UK in this matter.

Well — this is just the beginning. There are too many issues that will leave the UK in an awkward position, and in some cases, high and dry.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2021.

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