Guy Verhofstadt - Six months after the triggering of article 50

Dear Guy. Just stick a few ‘0’ on the end of the 2 year period and I will be very happy :wink:


Mz Maybe REALLY is incredibly stupid. She wastes time and spends taxpayers money going to Florence for a 35 minutes hot-air speech which could have very well been made outside No 10.
Nothing new came out of it, everyone knows there has to be a transition period (assuming we must go through with this Brexit idiocy), no figure on the “divorce bill” and most importantly…nothing on Citizens right. What a joke


I can’t for the life of me understand what the point of it was. Negotiating has to be done round the negotiating table, so even if it had contained anything new, it would all have had to be repeated by Davis next week. All she’s done as far as I can see is delay the next round of negotiations by a week. And demonstrated yet again that the UK still hasn’t got to grips with what needs to be done to move things on, and still hasn’t grasped that Brexit is of no real interest to any country other than the UK. The rest have moved on and are wrapped up in their own concerns - elections, unrest over new labour laws, Catalonia etc - and are very happy to leave Brexit to Barnier to sort out…


and takes the whole cabinet with her… nice weekend in Florence for them at expense of the public purse… You’d have thought she learnt her lesson from millions waisted on an unnecessary General Election :roll_eyes:


If Guy Verhofstadt really thinks that the European Court of Justice will have any direct authority in the UK after Brexit, then he is living in cloud cuckoo land.
One of the main objectives of Brexit is to have British Law, enforced by British Courts. M. Verhofstadt doesn’t seem to understand that the UK is LEAVING the EU, and so there will be no more jurisdiction of the ECJ in the UK.
When the EU strikes a Trade Deal with another country, do they expect the ECJ to have jurisdiction over and above the courts of that other country ? No, of course they don’t, so why oh why (apart from an intent of deliberate obstructionism) do they expect to be able to force ECJ jurisdiction on the UK ?
M. Verhofstadt is quick enough to say that the UK cannot retain the benefits of EU membership after leaving the EU, but then he still wants the ECJ to have authority in the UK after Brexit Day. He is definitely trying to both have his cake and to eat it.
Seems to me that the EU doesn’t really want to strike a deal with the UK at all. Perhaps that is why they are only actually attending negotiations for four days in every month.

Incidentally, I agree with others here that the trip to Florence (with Uncle Tom Cobbley and all) was an unnecessary waste of tax payers money.

I read it to mean that the ECJ needs to be involved through the transition period, as opposed to some other cobbled together jurisdiction i.e. not after the final severance.
However, if the whole wasteful & unecessary Florence thing did anything it is to show that trying to leave the EU is an even more ridiculous undertaking than previously thought. In the end, Brexit will not happen.

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My understanding of Guy Verhofstadt’s position is that in relation to matters concerning the rights of EU citizens in the UK, he is of the opinion that the ECJ should have the final say in any dispute even AFTER Brexit Day. This would be a completely unacceptable situation. No country would allow another country’s courts to have supremacy over their own in any other respect, so I wonder why M. Verhofstadt continues to pursue such a completely unreasonable demand.

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Except that the ECJ is not the national court of another country.
But I do agree that it’s asking a lot. I suspect that if the UK can give convincing assurances to Barnier that the rights of EU citizens will be properly protected by the UK courts, there will be a compromise on this.

I don’t think you are wholly correct on this issue.
In the first place, please don’t forget that Guy is not acting on his own agenda here… he is the chief Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament.
The EU position is clear (unlike Mrs May’s) and I agree with it. Brits living in the EU27 post BREXIT will be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ and it is absurd to think that they would not be.

Yes - but the question is, should EU27 citizens living in the UK be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ? Logically they would not. But if they’re not, how the EU ensure that their rights will be protected, as it feels it has a duty to do?
Whilst the UK doesn’t like the ECJ I don’t think there is any question about whether or not it’s fit for purpose, after all it’s been doing the job for long enough. But the same cannot necessarily be said the other way round.

I agree with you entirely on that point.
However, the question under negotiation is whether the ECJ should continue to be the ultimate arbiter in disputes between the UK Gov’t and EU citizens living in the UK **after ** Brexit. I cannot see how this could be tolerated, as to do so would set a precedent of allowing a ‘foreign’ authority to be able to take precedence over UK Courts and constitutional authority. There would then be a post Brexit situation where the ECJ (implementing future changes in EU law) could then apply that future law in the UK even though many years may then have passed since Brexit Day.
That would be an intolerable situation which would usurp the authority of The Crown and the UK Gov’t.

But,surely that is already the case throughout the EU? EU27 citizens who arrived in the UK before BREXIT should be protected. I believe that to be the position of the EU Parlament. Those who arrive thereafter would only be subject to UK domestic law - unless the UK wants to have it’s cake and eat it…

I have never heard of any differentiation in the view of the EU as to changes in the proposed sovereignty of the ECJ according to when an EU citizen may have arrived in the UK, and there is no mention of it that I can see in the EU’s published position paper on the subject.
Anyway, let’s turn this around a minute.
Would it be reasonable, post Brexit, for a UK citizen resident in France, who feels mistreated by the authorities here, to obtain a court order in London to be enforced here in France ? I don’t think that such a course of action would be very effective myself. The proper course of action would of course be to resort to law within the jurisdiction of residency, and perhaps be advised / assisted in so doing by that citizens consular representatives.
Yes, of course the status of those EU citizens who arrived in the UK before Brexit Day will have to be protected in law. However, that protection should be afforded by British Courts that have enforceable jurisdiction in the country where said EU citizen resides.
What would perhaps be a good idea is for the UK Gov’t to prepare an Act of Parliament in consultation with the EU, and then to pass said Act into law (enforceable by the UK Supreme Court) before Brexit Day arrives. Yes, the EU would have to take it on trust that such an “EU Citizens Rights Act” would not later be repealed post Brexit, but if they can’t believe in our word on such a matter, then there is little point in trying to negotiate with them anyway.

If someone feels they’ve been treated unjustly by the national authorities of any EU member state, they can appeal to the ECJ. It’s not a national court, it’s a higher body.
Who can you appeal to if you feel the UK has treated you unjustly? AFAIK there is no higher body if the UK rejects the ECJ. And I can understand why having nowhere to go for help could feel a bit scary.

There is no doubt that when the UK leaves the EU, there will then be one less tier of the court process to which any UK resident (regardless of nationality – Brits included) will be able to appeal to. The highest court of appeal will then be the UK Supreme Court, and that will be the case for both British citizens and foreigners choosing to live in the UK.
Would it be fair that an EU citizen living in the UK post Brexit should have a right of appeal to the ECJ that a British citizen with identical residency would not have ? No of course it wouldn’t, but that seems to be exactly what the EU is demanding.
Yes, leaving the EU will reduce the existing rights of EU citizens living in the UK, but let’s not forget that it will also equally reduce the rights of British citizens who live in the UK as well.
Such reduction of rights is part of the price that those in favour of Brexit are willing to pay in order to re-establish the UK as an independent sovereign country, and in order to achieve that goal there can be no provision for any court which is outside of the UK to have supremacy within it.

My understanding is that the transition or ‘implementation’ period in effect means that ‘brexit’ will not actually take place in full until AFTER that period ends, so the UK will not actually fully leave the EU - or the ECJ’s jurisdiction - this is Verhofstadt’s point - until 2020 or later (maybe never if for example there is a UK general election or financial crisis before then).
One problem of course is that nobody really knows what the ‘objectives’ of ‘brexit’ are, other than leaving the EU, which was the only question on the referendum ballot - all other views (with regard to the ECJ, single market, customs union, etc) are up for debate - as much within the UK government as everywhere else it seems!

I thought the opposite - I thought that May 2019 (or is it March) was set in stone as the date when the UK ceases to be an EU member. Any transitional arrangement, if the 27 agree to it, will start on that same date and run for as long as it runs. As far as the EU is concerned, Brexit is the date when the 28 member states become 27. The EU likes things clear cut and that’s what Brexit means to them, but the UK likes constructive amiguity so they will no doubt have a more flexible and creative viewpoint on what Brexit means brexxit means brexit actually means. Maybe we will get to a situation where the EU thinks the UK has left and the UK thinks it’s still a member.
How much difference there will be between being a full member, and being a trading partner possibly with some kind of associate membership, depends on what transitional deal, if any, is struck - but I am sure there will be a difference.

As far as I’m concerned the objectives of Brexit (in no particular order of importance) are as follows:-

  1. To maintain the UK as an independent sovereign country governed from Westminster rather than from Brussels / Strasbourg.
  2. To remove the UK from the prospect of ‘Ever Closer Union’ to which the leaders of the EU keep returning. ( I have in mind here the content of Jean Claude Juncker’s recent ‘State of the Union’ speech.)
  3. To place the matter of immigration into the UK solely within the total control of H.M. Gov’t.
  4. To stop the payment of millions of pounds per week to the EU administration so that H.M. Gov’t can decide what to spend this money on rather than the EU.
  5. To maintain the British Monarch as Head of State of the UK as opposed to us being represented by an EU President. (M. Juncker’s speech agfain refers.)
  6. To allow the UK to be able to make Trade Agreements with any country it chooses rather than having to rely on the EU to do so. Such individual UK agreements are more likely to benefit the UK than the ‘One size fits all’ type of agreements made by the EU.
  7. To maintain the supremacy of the UK Supreme Court in the matter of implementation of law within the UK.
  8. To keep the control of H.M. Armed Forces solely within the jurisdiction of the UK Gov’t.

But Robert, my point is precisely that everyone can give their own list of objectives (however they voted) - but there’s no way of telling what those millions of different lists actually contain (though we do know - from the continuing arguments, even within the UK cabinet - that there are indeed substantial differences between the lists!).

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