A collective sigh of relief was heard when the long-awaited ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding the Brexit negotiation of international trade was announced.
The ECJ ruled that EU bureaucrats had exclusive powers to negotiate international trade agreements without the need to have their decisions ratified in national and regional parliaments, other than in specific areas involving dispute resolution or inward investment. It had been anticipated that the ECJ may choose to involve the respective parliaments etc. making the negotiations infinity harder and more protracted.
The test case that has helped to clarify the negotiation process arises from the European Commission’s request for a ruling on the status of its authority regarding a trade deal between Singapore and the European Union, which became infinitely more significant once the Brexit process started. The ruling has removed two potential deal-breakers, that of time and veto, in that should the ECJ have decided to involve the various parliaments, at least an additional five years could possibly have been added to the already lengthy trade agreement negotiations with the potential risk of a parliamentary body deciding to block the deal.
The news was well received by British businesses and business organisation the Institute of Directors stated that “how this affects Brexit negotiations will depend on whether the final trade agreement includes investment provisions or not, although neither the UK or EU has expressed much interest in this to date.”
All trade deals have become more complex, and there is increasing concern that the EU has been encroaching into areas of national law.
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