EU’s Highest Court Affirms Rule That Makes Brexit Negotations Harder For May

The European Union’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, has affirmed the rule that all 28 members of the EU will have to individually sign off on whatever Brexit deal the UK and the EU agree on, if they ever do. While this was always the expectation, there is no doubt that requiring all the individual member states’ national and regional parliaments, 38 in all, to approve the deal will make the Brexit negotiations more difficult and more lengthy and increases the likelihood that no deal will be completed before the two year deadline.

This ruling obviously strengthens the hands of the individual states. Ireland will have important input into the status of Northern Ireland. Spain will have important input into the status of Gibraltar. And it will probably strengthen the movements in Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, and Scotland to remain in the EU. And it makes it even more difficult for a Theresa May to quickly conclude a broad, far-reaching revised trading agreement with the EU in a negotiation where the EU clearly has the upper hand.

Even among May’s pro-Brexit compatriots there is an increasing realization that the two year deadline may be impossible to meet. If that were to happen, UK trade would fall under WTO rules and estimates are those new rules would cut UK GDP by 5% to 10% over the next decade and a half.

Meanwhile, London’s financial district continues to slowly bleed as more and more firms begin shifting lines of business and employees to the continent, with plans to shift over 9,000 jobs even before the Brexit negotiating deadline.

As I’ve said before, Theresa May will probably have an even stronger hand domestically after the upcoming election. But that will mean nothing because the EU holds all the cards when it comes to the Brexit negotiations.


I’ve also written about this and other issues on my personal blog at tidalsoundings.blogspot.com.

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