EU cranking ECJ into overdrive to try and derail Brexit
Desperate Brussels knows it is losing in the face of Boris Johnson's fair but firm approach to negotiations. So, it is employing dirty tricks, and using the European Court of Justice as cover. It won't work, and they should face up to reality now
When the United Kingdom was a member state of the European Union, it was labelled as a compliant member. The UK rarely ended up in front of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and even when it did, the UK seldom lost as there were only very minor incidents which were easily corrected or overturned.
Now, with the current no-nonsense Brexiteer Government, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, we no longer stand for the EU’s half-hearted, careless approach to proper negotiations. Brussels may have now realised this and is trying to crank the ECJ into overdrive before the end of the Transition Period to spite the Prime Minister and attempt to water down Brexit.
In the past, on the rare occasions the UK was taken in front of the ECJ, this was mainly for very minor and trivial issues, such as frequently failing to comply with the EU’s 1991 Directive on the ‘management of urban waste water’ because water treatment plants have not been essential and are expensive to provide. Even when the UK was taken to the Court over such a matter, they often won, as so few European rules were ever broken.
Now, there are frequent reports of the EU threatening the UK with legal action from the ECJ over a variety of different issues. This should come as no surprise due to the accompanying fact of the Brexit negotiations facing a cliff-edge.
The European Commission and their Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier, have so far failed to diminish Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Eurosceptic Government, something which before Boris’s tenure, they found all too easy with Europhile PMs such as David Cameron and Theresa May. Brussels has finally met its match and their unelected bureaucrats are now throwing their proverbial toys out of their prams.
The first threat came under the guise of Freedom of Movement. According to the EU, the UK “has failed to continue following movement rules as if it is a full EU Member.” The accusation came as the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP introduced her new Immigration Bill, which the European Commission claims “Limits the rights of first-time jobseekers and their families, imposed unjustified lifetime re-entry bans and limited possibilities for appeal.”
This effectively means the EU wants the UK to obey its rules - in full - until after the conclusion of the Transition Period – something the EU never wants to see happen. Should the UK not take action and proceedings go ahead, the UK could be issued with daily fines totalling thousands of Euros, potentially adding another financial blow to the already crippling and dire economic situation we now find ourselves in with COVID-19.
Next, the EU took infringement proceedings against the UK regarding Value Added Tax rules on trading in The City of London. The ECJ found the UK in violation of European Union law and has subsequently ordered the UK Government to pay legal fees and in a show of absolute force, has ordered the UK to either adopt the EU policy on VAT or go to all the EU’s 27 Member States and essentially beg them to drop or adapt the policy. It couldn’t have been timed to collide with the final round of negotiations any better.
Finally, the EU has denied the UK access to the criminal and police data-sharing system after the Transition Period, citing case law from the ECJ as justification – which seems to be a case of biting off its nose to spite its own face – as mutual cooperation on this should not be a political points-scorer, but mutually beneficial.
All three are being thrown at the UK at once. These are the EU’s latest political manoeuvres before the final round of negotiations kick off next week on June 2nd, in an attempt to try and derail the talks, and Brexit before the Summit at the end of June.
It now appears we are winning the political battle in the Brexit negotiations and these trivial displays of political games from Brussels are why we must Get Britain Out of the Transition Period at the end of this year, and avoid more petty legal cases from the ECJ.
Jayne Adye is the Director of the leading cross-Party Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out
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