Saturday

20th Jan 2018

British firms will 'beg' for EU court

  • The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg (Photo: katarina_dzurekova)

Britain's conservative government led by Theresa May insists on wriggling itself free of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg.

The move is part of a broader effort by the UK to leave the European Union. It is also among the more thornier issues in what May claims is a question of British sovereignty.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

On Thursday (29 June), the European Commission published its position paper on the matter, noting that the UK's withdrawal from the Union does not deprive the Court of Justice of its competence to adjudicate in proceedings over citizens’ rights after Brexit.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week in Luxembourg, the Court's president Koen Lenaerts, said that, unlike other EU member states such as Germany and even the US, British courts cannot overturn decisions by its own lawmakers.

"An act of parliament of Westminster cannot be quashed by a British court," he said

In contrast, courts in the US and in Europe can overturn acts. Such power has been in place in the US for some 220 years. The EU has a similar system as does Germany's Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.

Lenaerts said Britain's critical view of the ECJ "is only fed by its own insular perception of the local legal system."

That perception has, in part, turned the debate against the ECJ into a threat against British sovereignty.

May has made the issue a red line in the Brexit negotiations.

But Lenaerts defended the Luxembourg-based court, noting that it ensures the equality of member states in EU law.

UK and EU trade relations

He also said any UK post-Brexit deal would not escape the ECJ's reach and that British companies would be keen for its counsel.

"After Brexit, there will be British firms begging our courts to get locus standi," he said, referring to the right to bring a case before the court.

He noted any British company or subsidiary that sets up camp in the EU's internal market would want the court to enforce its rights.

Special bilateral agreements between the EU and non-EU states that are in the internal market - such as Switzerland - also fall under the court's jurisdiction.

"This court, of course, interprets these internal bilateral agreements because they are Union law," he said.

Switzerland has over 120 bilateral agreements.

"Those agreements are concluded by the European Union with Switzerland, they are hence Union law for the 28 member states," he said.

Any similar or ad-hoc arrangements between the EU and UK will follow a similar path, he added.

He also said that the UK had fundamentally misunderstood the concept of federalism, which he described as keeping a balance between unity and diversity.

"The United States is also an e pluribus unum - out of many, one," he said, quoting the US' national motto.

May defends proposal on EU citizens' rights

“We want you to stay”, British leader Theresa May told EU nationals on Monday, but the UK's "settled status" plan lacked "ambition", the EU said.

UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit

The EU Commission says extra revenue generated from a new visa-free travel scheme, to launch in 2020, would go to the EU budget, reducing member state contributions.

'No backsliding' on Brexit promise, Irish PM warns

Leo Varadkar, the first leader to address MEPs in a series of speeches on the EU's future, pledged to close tax loopholes, pay more into the EU budget, and keep London to its word on Northern Ireland.

Farage claims Barnier 'does not get' Brexit

The first official meeting between EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and leading Brexit campaigner, MEP Nigel Farage has no impact on the talks, but gave a chance for the former UKIP leader to boast.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia