Britain is facing momentous change following its decision to leave the European Union and will need to forge a new role in the world, Prime Minister Theresa May told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday. David Pollard reports.
For a so-called 'global elite', events at Davos had a very British flavour on Thursday. Theresa May in town to say that although Brexit means Brexit - it doesn't mean an end to Europe. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, THERESA MAY SAYING: "It remains overwhelmingly and compellingly in Britain's national interest that the EU as an organisation should succeed." The speech heard as a bid to soothe nerves - over the 'momentous change' her vision of an EU exit might entail. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY SAYING: "So at the heart of the plan I set out earlier this week, is a determination to pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement between the UK and the European Union." There was a positive response from at least some listeners. But if May was playing good cop, there was a hint of the bad in a warning from her finance minister - also in Davos ... The UK didn't want a race to the bottom on tax, he said. But it wasn't just down to Britain to prevent that. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER PHILIP HAMMOND SAYING: "Of course that isn't entirely in our gift. That depends on the deal we can do with our European partners and that depends on people being pragmatic and sensible." While that message might not play well to Europe, it does find sympathetic ears in the markets. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS ANALYST, MICHAEL HEWSON, SAYING: "A lose-lose situation is in the interest of no-one. So I don't think leaving the table with no trade deal at all is an option for either side." From May too a warning - on the dangers of globalisation. Though later in the day she was to meet with some its biggest financial players. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Blackrock chief execs reportedly coming together in Davos - and thought likely to press a case for special transitional arrangements post-Brexit.