Paris holds all the aces over its European counterparts in luring U.K.-based bankers away from London throughout Brexit negotiations, according to the president of the Île-de-France region which includes the French capital.
"(Brexit) started a process of competition between all of the metropolises of continental Europe and in this competition I think Paris has got many assets. I want, of course, to take advantage of this situation, but not to punish the British people … Just because I don't think Paris should yield in front of the competition," Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region, told CNBC on Monday.
Pécresse argued that the French capital has the best negotiating position in comparison to its European rivals attempting to attract financial industry workers away from London. However, she did concede that a priority for France should be to bolster ties with Germany in order to strengthen the "main pillar of Europe" after the U.K. has withdrawn from the European Union (EU).
Brexit passed its first legislative hurdle on February 1 after the U.K. parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of starting the formal two-year negotiation process with the EU. Britain could be set to complete the legislative process by March 7 which would meet Prime Minister Theresa May's self-imposed April deadline to begin divorce talks with the bloc.
Several U.K.-based banks are poised to announce at least part of their business operations are being moved from London to another European city, with countries on the continent scrambling to attract top financial officials.
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