Brexit transitional deal will lock UK into EU court, says Verhofstadt

February 12, 2017 in News by RBN Staff

Guy Verhofstadt

by  in Brussels

Britain will remain under the jurisdiction of the European court of justice for years to come if it seeks a transition deal to cushion its withdrawal from the EU, the chief negotiator for the European parliament has said.

In the clearest sign to date that Britain is on a collision course with Brussels over the court, Guy Verhofstadt said European negotiators were primed to push back against Theresa May’s promises to remove the UK from the writ of European judges as soon as Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

Verhofstadt, who is representing the parliament in the article 50 negotiations, said he expected a transition agreement to be put together following the settling of Britain’s debts and before withdrawal in 2019.

But asked whether the UK would remain under the European court of justice after 2019, the former Belgian prime minister said: “The starting point from the European side will be yes.”

Downing Street made clear as recently as last month that it believed the UK would leave the jurisdiction of the court as soon as the UK left the EU. May, who was repeatedly frustrated by the court’s rulings during her time as home secretary, sees it as a benchmark for whether the country has truly left the EU.

Verhofstadt’s remarks are the latest sign that, under a transition deal that the prime minister wants to be put in place while a free trade agreement is finalised, the EU will not allow Britain to withdraw from the ECJ.

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