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The Guardian view on EU attitudes to Brexit: the UK is running a goodwill deficit | Editorial

The diplomacy needed to get the kind of deal Theresa May wants should have started long ago and been more competently run

Shared economic interest is a big motive for countries to form alliances, but not the only one. The chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, on Wednesday set out good commercial reasons why the EU should include financial services in a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK. The problem is that his target audience sees the value of European integration in terms that go well beyond commerce. Mr Hammond’s pitch for a uniquely fluid cross-border financial regime had been rejected hours before his speech. Draft guidelines for the next stage of Brexit talks, published by the European council, envisage a steep downgrade of access to EU markets for financial services.

A clear implication from the document is that the prime minister’s Brexit red lines, taking Britain out of the single market and customs union, have so narrowed the available options that the best the City of London can hope for is trade in services on a template set by the EU’s deal with Canada. The chancellor rejects this model, arguing that the UK and the rest of Europe begin their negotiations from a point of maximum convergence; so for Brussels to invent barriers where none now exists is perverse. The EU riposte is that the perversity originates with the UK’s decision to leave the single market.

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Source: The Guardian