On 26 February 2020, the European Commission published a speech by Michel Barnier entitled Cooperation in the age of Brexit.

In terms of financial services Mr Barnier states:

  • as of 1 January 2021, UK firms will lose the benefit of the financial services passport. No firm outside the Single Market has such a passport;
  • equivalence will be granted but only when it is in the interest of the EU; its financial stability; its investors and its consumers; and
  • equivalence decisions will remain unilateral decisions.

In terms of trade agreements, Mr Barnier argues that there is no single template and that whilst the UK wants a Canada style Free Trade Agreement the problem is, in his view, that the EU’s relationship with UK and with Canada are “world’s apart”.