Bundesbank chief warns UK banks over post-Brexit migration controls

Theresa May highlights the importance of drawing legal distinctions between genuine refugees and economic migrants as head of Bundesbank warns about post-Brexit migration.

UN Summit New York Theresa May Brexit
The mass arrival of economic migrants in Europe is undermining public support for the economic benefits of controlled migration, Theresa May, the UK prime minister, told a UN summit in New York on Monday.Her warning came as the head of the Bundesbank said it was inevitable UK banks and other financial institutions would lose their passporting rights in the EU unless Britain accepted it could not fully control post-Brexit immigration.Mrs May, who believes gaining full control of immigration is a minimum expectation of the majority who voted to leave the EU in June's referendum, told the UN conference on refugees and migrants that a better, legal distinction should be drawn between genuine refugees and economic migrants.At a time of "unprecedented levels of population movement" around the world, she said the issue needed to be addressed to restore "public confidence in the economic benefits of legal and controlled migration" and public support for helping genuine refugees."Across the world today, we are seeing unprecedented levels of population movement and we need to work together to find a better response, which focuses our humanitarian efforts on those refugees in desperate need of protection and maintains public confidence in the economic benefits of legal and controlled migration," she said. 

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"This is an urgent matter – more people are displaced than at any point in modern history and it is vital that we provide ongoing support for those people most in need of protection."As the world's second-largest bilateral humanitarian donor, the UK is already playing its part and we will step up our efforts with further financial assistance and concrete action in partnership with the countries most affected."But we cannot simply focus on treating the symptoms of this crisis, we need to address its root causes too. While we must continue our efforts to end conflict, stop persecution and the abuse of human rights, I believe we also need a new, more effective global approach to manage migration."This should be based around three principles that will better serve the interests of migrants, who are exposed to danger; the interests of the countries they are leaving, travelling through or seeking to reach; and, most importantly, the interests of refugees, for whom we all share a responsibility to help."Meanwhile, Jens Weidmann, the Bundesbank president, told Monday's Guardian newspaper that the UK would have to remain part of the European single market or, at least, the European Economic Area (EEA) – under which some of the principles of free movement would have to be maintained – if the financial sector wished to retain the passporting rights that enable institutions to trade freely throughout Europe."Passporting rights are tied to the single market and would automatically cease to apply if Great Britain is no longer at least part of the European Economic Area," he said.Anna Soubry, a pro-EU Conservative MP, said Mr Weidmann's comments undermined the view of a new "hard Brexit" group, which has the support of several former ministers, that the UK should simply pull out of the single market even if no alternative trade deal could be struck."On the day Leave campaigners say they want to leave the single market, Germany's top banker says this will severely damage our vital financial services sector," said Ms Soubry. "Cold, hard reality is setting in for those who want a hard Brexit. The consequences will be felt in people's jobs."All the evidence shows that outside the single market, the UK's services and manufacturing sectors would be under threat. This must be the priority for the government's renegotiation."

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