0 1862 0 October 11, 2017
The UK’s former representative at the court, Sir Konrad Schiemann, has told the Government’s Brexit committee that the ECJ will have the power to strike down a deal even if it is completely agreed upon by Mrs May and the EU 27.
He warned that if any of the agreement was ruled to be illegal under European law the deal would have to be renegotiated.
Sir Schiemann said: “Any agreement that is made between the EU and parliament is subject to challenge in the European Court of Justice on the subject of powers of the parties who have made that agreement.
“So the Commission and the people negotiating on behalf of the EU are faced with this problem: They can’t just do what they think is good.
“They have got to remain within their powers.”
Asked if the withdrawal terms could be challenged by European judges, he said: “Certainly in so far as they touch on the role of the ECJ.
“If you exclude the ECJ altogether and for example try and set up a different tribunal — this has been done in various other draft treaties — sometimes the ECJ has said yes that will work and other times it has said it won’t.”
Sir Schiemann described withdrawal as “an absolute can of worms” and went on to take an apparent swipe at the PM’s state of readiness ahead of triggering Article 50 earlier this year.
He added: “I don’t think anybody had thought it through when they put through Article 50.
“Now someone is trying to operate it and it poses a number of very considerable problems.”
It comes as diplomats claim hardliners in Germany are blocking the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator from opening trade talks with the UK.
According to reports, Michel Barnier, who is heading the Commission’s Brexit team, is pushing for trade talks to begin as soon as possible.
But sources in Brussels have said that Angela Merkel’s government in Berlin, which has been significantly damaged after big electoral losses last month, is holding out for Britain to agree to pay a massive divorce bill of up to £78billion.
Mrs Merkel is worried that Germany will have to pick up the bill when the EU loses Britain’s net contribution of more than £10billion a year.
She is understood to be unhappy with Theresa May’s generous offer to keep paying contributions during a transition period.
A diplomat reportedly told a Brussels correspondent: “Germany wants more and it wants it more or less in writing. That is toxic for the British.”
A Brussels source has suggested that Mr Barnier has instead advised that while “sufficient progress” has not been made to move on to talks the “positive atmosphere” following Theresa May’s speech in Florence means that second stage talks should begin.
Last update on by Wesley Walcott.
*!**!

G: F!
---------