London Mayor Sadiq Khan will embark on Europe-wide tour at the end of March with a message that the city’s links with the rest of the EU will be “more important than ever before” after the UK finally leaves the EU, as the government gets ready to trigger formal Brexit talks. Khan, who will be joined by his Indian-origin deputy mayor for business Rajesh Agarwal, is set to visit five major European cities of Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Madrid and Warsaw over six days next month to declare that ‘London is open’ for business. “I want to take the message directly to Europe that London will always remain open to engaging, trading and doing business with our friends across Europe. Our connections on the continent are more important than ever before and, regardless of Brexit, we will continue to work closely together for our mutual benefit,” said Khan.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she plans to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will trigger a two-year negotiating deadline for the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU), by the end of March.
She won a major parliamentary victory last night as MPs voted for her to go ahead with her timetable for invoking the official Brexit process.
“This trip is particularly important because by the end of March, the Prime Minister [Theresa May] is going to trigger Article 50 to leave the European Union. This is the time to show truly that London is open, not just to business and trade but also ideas. We will be highlighting that it is in the interest of both the EU and UK that we strike a good deal; it’s a win-win situation for both,” Agarwal said.
The trade mission will include participants of the Mayor’s International Business Programme – an initiative to help London-based companies with growth and export opportunities overseas backed by the mayor’s business promotion arm London & Partners.
Talks are expected to cover the British capital’s needs from the Brexit negotiations and key issues that the capital cities across Europe have in common with London, including air quality, the night-time economy and the need for greater social integration.
There will also be discussions of the importance of joint security work in the aftermath of Brexit, to help keep London and Europe safe from terrorist attacks.