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By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) - Denmark's business minister was meeting financial technology firms in London on Friday as part of a two-day drive to lure them from Britain after Brexit.
Cophenhagen faces fierce competition from Frankfurt, Paris, Luxembourg and Dublin in the battle to attract firms needing an EU base after Britain leaves the bloc in 18 months' time.
"That's a tough game," Danish business minister Brian Mikkelsen said in a telephone call from Level39, the fintech hub in London's Canary Wharf financial district.
"We are going to make it cheaper and easier to be in Denmark."
Denmark, which has already begun a review of regulation and taxes to remove burdens on financial companies and staff, is meeting 25 firms in London, including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, State Street and BlackRock.
"We would like to be the northern European hub for the financial sector," Mikkelsen said.
He said Denmark will launch a "sandbox" to allow fintech firms to experiment with new apps on actual customers without having to go through burdensome licence applications and regulatory approvals first.
Sandboxes were spearheaded by Britain's Financial Conduct Authority and are being quickly copied across the world by governments keen to attract fintech firms along with the jobs and growth prospects they bring.
Mikkelsen said no financial firm from Britain had applied for a licence in Denmark, which is mainly focussing on fintech and asset managers, rather than seeking big lenders, pitting it against smaller rivals such as Dublin and Luxembourg, rather than Paris or Frankfurt.
"Our aim while we are here is the asset managers and fintech start ups. We have a very well educated and flexible labour force and in Denmark we are very digitised."
(Reporting by Huw Jones)