European diplomats are increasingly convinced the United Kingdom (U.K.) will sever economic ties with the continent when it leaves the European Union (EU), as hopes of a special partnership languish.
As the European commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, prepares to start work, the dominant mood among senior diplomats is that the U.K. is on the path to hard Brexit, namely giving up membership of the EU single market, as well as the customs union that allows free circulation of goods.
Under this clean-break scenario, London-based banks would lose the passports that allow them to operate across the continent, while Britain’s trade would be governed by a new agreement yet to be defined.
Barnier, a veteran French center-right politician, is expected to make a low-key start to his high-profile role, with no public statements scheduled on a weekend that also marks the passing of 100 days since the June 23 referendum.
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