These people really are idiots

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is set to pave the way for a hard Brexit by handing 38 national and regional parliaments the power to veto trade deals.

In a move that further clouds the prospects of a swift and comprehensive UK-EU deal, the European Union’s highest court is expected to extend the veto rights to regional parliaments through a ruling on the EU’s 2014 trade agreement with Singapore.

No, leave Brexit out of it.

So, the WTO is a trade organisation where every single member has a pure and perfect veto over everything. One of the reasons for the EU is that the 28 (currently) can speak as one voice in that organisation. For trade agreements are a sole competence of the EU.

Now the insistence is that each of the 28 should again (and down to regional parliaments as well) have a veto over trade agreements. At which point there’s no point in the EU being the WTO member is there? Might as well all sign up individually again.

Sigh.

16 comments on “These people really are idiots

  1. That one, for some strange reason, the EU decided should be ratified by all junior parliaments. But they didn’t have to.

  2. They’re trying to get some of the benefits of brexit, we need to tell them they can’t cherry pick

  3. And then people wonder why it takes so damn long to negotiate trade deals with the EU.

    Can’t wait for their surprise when the post-Brexit UK gets deals signed in a matter of months.

  4. All their cards on the table already. It’s like playing bridge with three dummies.

  5. The idea here is to try and offset some of the EU’s considerable democratic deficit with a democratic surplus here.

    The upshot will be a licence for pettifogging and spite.

    Unsurprising.

  6. A unilateral declaration of free trade and free movement looks increasingly attractive. Criminals excepted.

  7. Tim,

    There is nothing irrational about this.

    Post Brexit, the UK will speak with one voice. If, prior say to signing a trade deal with Bongo, the UK decides to get internal approval from Wales, Scotland and Cornwall, that’s no one’s business except for the UK. The UK will still (from the view of anyone dealing with the UK) act as a single voice.

    Exactly the same as the deal the EU did with Canada. That was “a country” (the EU) going through whatever “internal” process it wanted to, before it then (with one voice) signed the deal with Canada.

  8. 38 internal vetoes.

    And – with that kind of complexity – all the more reason the USE is simply a bugger’s muddle.

  9. Sounds like it gives the Scottish parliament the right to veto a UK/EU FTA while we are still members of the EU. Hard to see how an ECJ ruling could make the distinction.

  10. “That one, for some strange reason, the EU decided should be ratified by all junior parliaments. But they didn’t have to.”

    Given that courts merely interpret existing statutes, whatever provisions the ECJ considered in reaching their judgement also applied to the Canadian treaty.

  11. AlexM

    Sounds like it gives the Scottish parliament the right to veto a UK/EU FTA while we are still members of the EU.

    I could be wrong but I thought, post Article 50, that any deal will be UK vs EUr27.

    Hence, if Westminster chooses, Holyrood can whistle…

  12. I read a little bit more about this. Things are not really the way that the newspapers have said. It has always been like this.

    The EU has certain powers that it holds exclusively. It has some powers that are shared with the national governments. The EU can negotiate as long as the trade deal only covers the powers it holds itself. In that case the national parliaments don’t have to be asked. If the deal spreads into the powers of national governments then every parliament of every member nation must agree too.

    This judgment says that the powers do spread in this way, that’s why it requires agreement from each member state.

    See https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2016-12/cp160147en.pdf

  13. @PF post article 50 you are correct, but there won’t be anything in the EU law allowing national and regional government vetos that discriminates between article 50 and non-article 50 situations, hence my guess that Holyrood could throw a spanner in the works, although that is clearly ridiculous.

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