EU restarts work on EU-UK regulatory forum after Northern Ireland deal
By Huw Jones
(Reuters) - The European Union's executive body said on Wednesday it will finalise a long-delayed discussion forum for EU and UK financial regulators, once the deal on Northern Ireland has been implemented by Britain.
The forum, similar to what the EU already has with the United States, was due to have been created by March 2021, but was put on ice because of disagreements over trading relations with Northern Ireland.
Those disagreements have been ironed out in last month's agreement, or Windsor Framework, which has yet to be formally implemented by Britain.
"We are ready to start work on the finalisation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on financial services regulatory cooperation," a spokesman for the European Commission's financial services unit said on Wednesday.
"Once the Windsor Framework is implemented, this MoU would allow for a relationship similar to that with other third countries with an important financial services sector," the spokesman said.
Brexit left the City of London largely cut off from the EU, forcing banks, insurers and asset managers to set up hubs in the bloc to avoid disruption to services.
About 7,000 financial jobs have moved from Britain to the continent to staff the new centres, and Amsterdam has overtaken London as Europe's biggest share trading centre.
The forum has no mandate to decide on EU financial market access, but financial industry officials say it could improve strained cross-Channel relations in the sector, and help ease tension in areas, such as derivatives clearing.
David Schwimmer, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, said last week that an improvement in relations between the EU and Britain was a "good thing" to help avoid fragmentation in markets.
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)