New guidelines from the EU show the bloc will demand the court’s jurisdiction is maintained

Posted By: April 23, 2017

Brexit: EU scuppers Theresa May plan to end European Court’s UK power

 Joe Watts. Independent. London.Friday, April 21, 2017


Theresa May’s promise to end the European Court’s jurisdiction in the UK has hit an immediate block after it emerged the EU will demand its power is upheld after Brexit.

The detailed draft negotiating guidelines reveal the European Council wants the court’s UK role to remain, in particular when it comes to preserving the rights of EU citizens in Britain.

It could mean European nationals can turn to the court if they believe the British Government is breaching their rights in the future, but also that UK citizens elsewhere in Europe could do the same.

Brexit deal ‘will be vetoed if citizens’ rights are not protected’

But it comes after it emerged Ms. May is expected to make eliminating the European Court’s influence in the UK an election manifesto pledge.

Ministers told The Independent as early as December last year that they suspect legal disputes may have to be settled by European judges for years after Brexit.

The “draft negotiating directives” state that any Brexit deal should “safeguard the status and rights derived from Union law at the withdrawal date, including those the enjoyment of which will intervene at a later date”, such as rights related to old age pensions.

The document goes on to say those rights should be protected for “the lifetime” of the EU citizens living in the UK, before adding: “In these cases, the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (and the supervisory role of the Commission) should be maintained.”

Agreeing to the provision could mean that if the UK Government breaches an EU citizen’s rights after Brexit in relation to state pension payments, for example, the individual might call on the Strasbourg court to remedy the issue.

It comes after the President of the European Parliament said any Brexit deal which did not protect EU citizens’ rights would be vetoed by the body. 

Antonio Tajani was in London to meet with Ms. May and discuss the parliament’s position on Brexit negotiations and said the issue of rights was a “red line”.