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Paris Prepares Incentives to Inherit London Financially | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Eiffel Tower is lit with the blue, white and red colors of the French flag in Paris, France, November 16, 2015, to pay tribute to the victims of a series of deadly attacks in the French capital. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

London-Ever since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union on June 23, European capitals are gearing up to replace London as a financial hub. Yet the British capital is trying hard to take all the measures to preserve its place as a world financial center.

Paris has already announced several times that it is willing to take that role.

Jeffrey Mountevans, Lord Mayor of London, said on Wednesday that Britain must protect access to the EU’s single market by maintaining so-called passporting rights after it leaves the bloc.

“It is in all our interests to protect access to the single market, protect the UK’s flexible labor market, protect the City’s passporting rights,” Mountevans said.

“We all hope that the UK government will act swiftly to ensure continued investment in this country – and continued competitiveness for our international firms.”

Yet officials said that the French government is outlining incentives to make Paris a more attractive financial center, as the French capital seeks to win finance jobs from London for a post-Brexit era.

France’s financial sector has often complained of government ambivalence towards the industry, which is subject to high taxes and sometimes hostile remarks from politicians.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has made a snap decision to appear at the annual conference of the French financial industry’s lobby, Paris Europlace, on Wednesday — a rare visit to the event by a high-ranking member of the government.

“We will do more in the future to enhance the attractiveness of the Paris financial centre: the government will do its part,” Bank of France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said in a speech to the conference.

Banks, asset managers and clearing houses in Britain currently serve customers across the EU under a passport system that give access to the single market if they comply with all the bloc’s regulations.

Britain will have to negotiate new trading terms with the EU but it is unclear if any passporting rights will be maintained. Without them, banks in Britain could be cut off from a large chunk of the European market.