Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Standard Bearer Boris Goes into Battle for City in Paris

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Standard Bearer Boris Goes into Battle for City in Paris

Article excerpt

Byline: Pippa Crerar City Hall Editor

BORIS JOHNSON took his fight to defend the City from European Union interference to the doorstep of the French today. The Mayor warned the whole eurozone would suffer if "ill thought-out" measures such as the bankers' bonus cap were imposed on the leading financial centre.

In a speech to business leaders in Paris, he said it made "no sense" for Brussels to "pick on" London and "senselessly downgrade" one of Europe's biggest assets. He spoke out as he handed out a special French edition of the Evening Standard to business leaders and commuters, as part of his bid to attract business to London and showcase the capital. He warned the decision to impose a limit on bankers' bonuses of double their salary would inflame anti-EU feeling in the UK, and suggested Chancellor George Osborne should fight the assault on the City harder -- as the French would do if their farmers were under threat.

"If the French government was faced with something like the bonus cap they would not tolerate it," he said. "They would paralyse negotiations and refuse to have further discussion until they got an agreement. That's what I think we should do, not give in."

On a two-day trip to the French capital, Mr Johnson denied Britain was a "difficult and reluctant" EU partner despite the Government's pledge to offer a referendum on withdrawal.

The Mayor, who would like to see the UK renegotiate its relationship with the EU focusing on trade, said Britain had shown "superhuman fidelity" to the principles of the European market. But he was also expected to tell his audience that leaving the EU "would not be the disaster everyone predicts".

He said: "I hope you will agree London is an asset for France, and an asset for Europe and that it makes no sense for us to attack the Continent's number one financial centre with bonus caps or any other ill thought-out measure.

"Those bankers will not vanish to France or to Frankfurt. …

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