The European Union could treat some British financial regulation as equivalent to EU law after Brexit, but would not give financial firms a general “passport” to do business in the single market, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said on Tuesday.

In a speech at a Belgian business event, Michel Barnier reiterated that once Britain left the EU on March 29, 2019, its firms would lose the benefits of doing business across a market of 440 million people.

“We will have the opportunity to treat some UK rules as equivalent, based on a proportionate and risk-based approach, including financial stability, which remains our primary concern,” Barnier said.

The City of London would like to retain the easy access to the EU market it has now, but Barnier said this was not possible.

“Its (Britain‘s) financial services cannot benefit from a passport in the single market nor from a system of generalized equivalence of standards,” Barnier said.

– by Jan Strupczewski, Reuters. 9 January 2018.