© Reuters. Britain’s PM Johnson attends a news conference in London
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain set out on Monday how it would let European Union financial services firms operate in Britain after a post-Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31, saying it was no longer waiting for Brussels to decide access to its markets in return. Finance minister Rishi Sunak said it was clear that there were “many areas” where the EU was not prepared to assess Britain’s requests. “Of course we will always want a constructive and engaged relationship with the European Union,” Sunak told parliament. “But after four years. I think it is time for us to move forward as a country and do what’s right for the UK to provide certainty and stability to industry and deliver our goal of open, well-regulated markets.” London and Brussels are still locked in talks about a broad trade deal less than two months before the scheduled end to the transition period. Access to EU markets for Britain’s huge financial services industry is being treated separately under the bloc’s equivalence system. Brussels grants access to its markets if rules for foreign financial firms in their home country are deemed to be equivalent or as robust as regulation in the bloc. Sunak said Britain would grant a package of equivalence decisions across a range of financial activities to the EU and member states of the European Economic Area, regardless of what the bloc eventually decides. The finance ministry said it was not ruling out further equivalence decisions if they were in Britain’s interests and it remained open to further dialogue with the EU.
“Where others might wish to use equivalence as a political weapon, that won’t be our approach,” Sunak said.
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