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Theresa May surrenders her Brexit red line on taking back control from EU judges

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michael barnier theresa may
Chief
negotiator for the European Union Michel Barnier (C) greets
British Prime Minster Theresa May on arrival at the Council of
the European Union on the final day of the European Council
leaders’ summit on March 23, 2018 in Brussels,
Belgium.

Jack Taylor/Getty
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  • European Judges are set to have the final say on key
    aspects of Britain’s relationship with the EU after
    Brexit.
  • The UK government has reportedly agreed to let the
    European Court of Justice be the legal arbiter on issues
    relating to the Brexit bill and EU citizens living in the
    UK.
  • Pro-Brexit Conservative MPs described the agreement as
    “unacceptable.”
  • The UK government wants to speed up Brexit negotiations
    in order to avoid no deal.

 

LONDON — Theresa May has been accused of an “unacceptable”
compromise to the European Union following reports that European
judges will have the final say over areas of Britain’s future
relationship with the EU after Brexit.

The UK government has agreed to let the European Court of Justice
be the legal arbiter on issues relating to the £39 billion
Brexit bill and the 3.8 million EU citizens residing in Britain,
according to The Times.

This means that even once Britain has completely Brexit, the EU’s
highest court, based in Luxembourg, will continue to have the
final say on future disputes relating to two key aspects of the
divorce.

In a draft text of the agreement, it says a joint committee of
officials “may, at any point, decide to submit the dispute
brought before it to the Court of Justice of the EU for a
ruling,” even if resisted by UK-based courts.

The ECJ — which has one judge from each EU member state — will
also have the final say on whether the Northern Irish backstop
should be activated, meaning European judges could have the power
to alter the UK territory.

Under the EU’s proposed backstop model, Northern Ireland will
effectively remain in the customs union and single market for
goods if Brexit trade talks fail to preserve the invisible border
on the island of Ireland.

Pro-Brexit Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin described the reported
agreement as “unacceptable.”

“This is very profound. It is giving a status to the European
Court of Justice in the withdrawal agreement that is not accorded
to the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom,” the MP for Harwich
and North Essex said.

In her early speeches on Brexit, May repeatedly pledged to end
the ECJ’s sway over the UK after Brexit.

“We will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in
control of our own laws,” the prime minister declared in her
Lancaster House speech in January 2017.

However, May has gradually rowed back on this red line as Brexit
talks have progressed. For example, European agencies which she
wants Britain to continue participating in are policed by the
ECJ. Additionally, under her Chequers plan, the ECJ will have the
final word of cases relating to EU trading rules which the UK has
agreed to follow.

Brexit talks are set to resume in mid-August and then continue
every week leading up to the October European Council summit, a
senior EU source told Business Insider.

Both sides must reach an agreement on the Northern Irish backstop
in order to secure a Withdrawal Agreement by early next year and
avoid the disruption of a no-deal scenario.

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain’s departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider’s political reporters. Join here.

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