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Stable EU relations with City of London will take time, says EU financial chief

News conference resilience of Europe's economic and financial system in Brussels

LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union foresees “stable and balanced” relations with Britain’s financial sector eventually after ground rules for cooperation are agreed next month, its financial services chief said on Thursday.

Britain’s financial sector has been cut off from its biggest export customer, with 8 billion euros in daily share trading moving from London to Amsterdam and Paris after Britain left the EU on Dec. 31.

EU financial services commissioner Mairead McGuinness said Brexit has resulted in a “significant regime change” but forward planning meant no volatility or disruption in financial markets last month.

The first step in building a new relationship with Britain in financial services will be agreeing a memorandum of understanding on regulatory cooperation, she said.

“We hope to do that by the end of March,” McGuinness told an Irish Universtities online event.

“I hope it will be the same type of arrangement that we have with the U.S… and I am optimistic that over with trust and cooperation, that we will build a stable and balanced relationship with our UK friends.”

EU and U.S. regulators meet several times a year to discuss international developments in regulation and deal with any potential conflicts.

The memorandum, described by a City of London official as no more than a “talking shop”, will not automatically lead to direct EU access for Britain’s financial sector, Brussels has said.

Some UK lawmakers say Britain should not wait for EU access and instead make regulatory changes to boost London’s global competitiveness.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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