A catastrophic legal disaster looms. I was horrified to see from the offer document that it still talks in terms of an agreement under Article 50. It is the wrong offer under the wrong law.
Please remember that there is a terrible trap in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the effect of which is to kill Brexit stone dead if an Article 50 Agreement comes into effect before the termination of the Article 50 period. This occurs because the UK is released from the Treaties of the EU on that agreement coming into effect but then the ECA 1972 immediately puts them all straight back again!
The least bad way forward is for Boris to revoke that offer and replace it with an offer of an interim free trade agreement under Article XXIV of GATT, as I have advised previously ad nauseam.
Other ways round the trap are few in number. Of these, the best is an urgent amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 deleting the words “on exit day” from Section 1.
The only other way, if there is a deal under Article 50, is to express within it a condition that it comes into effect at the same moment as the Article 50 period expires.
Respectfully, Septimus Octavius
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So it has happened – the Return of the Undead Withdrawal Agreement (see the article of that name in Independence Daily on 4th September last). Boris Johnson has offered an amended version of the 599 pages of the Withdrawal Agreement of 25th November 2018 to the European Union for its acceptance.
Apparently only the Protocol on Northern Ireland, known as the Backstop, has been amended. But this Backstop has always been merely a decoy, to attract attention away from the dark heart of this falsely named Withdrawal Agreement.
Articles 164 to 166 of the Withdrawal Agreement set up a Joint Committee to alone interpret and apply the Withdrawal Agreement in the Transition Period of Britain’s departure. This Committee will have sole control over the relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom in the Transition Period, however long that transition period lasts.
Clause 2 of Article 166 says that the decisions of this Joint Committee will be “binding” on the EU & UK. So this unelected Joint Committee will overrule the elected British government. Clause 10 of Annex VIII says that the proceedings of the Joint Committee will be “confidential”. Consequently the Committee’s proceedings will be secret (“confidential” means private, and therefore secret).
Then only these private people on the UK side of the confidential Joint Committee can stand up for Britain against the EU, if they choose to. Article 168 (Exclusivity) says that all disputes between the EU & UK sides on this confidential Committee must go exclusively to the Arbitration Panel set up in Articles 171 to 181. But clause 1 of Article 174 says that where a dispute submitted to arbitration raises a question of EU law, then the Court of Justice of the EU will make a decision binding on the Arbitration Panel.
As the Withdrawal Agreement is a legal document all disputes arising from its interpretation and application can be seen as legal disputes subject to the rule of the Court of Justice of the EU. You can be sure that the CJEU will agree with that. Clause 1 of Article 174 makes the rest of the Articles 167 to 181 in Title III (Dispute Management) redundant.
Article 132 in the 585 pages of the 14th November 2018 Draft Withdrawal Agreement allowed the Joint Committee to extend the transition period to “31st December 20XX”. So the transition period would be extended to the 31st December 2099. That has been the whole purpose of the Withdrawal Agreement from its very first draft.
That “20XX” clause is apparently missing from the 25th November 2018 version of the Withdrawal Agreement, which was approved by the European Council. The “20XX” clause made the intentions of the EU too obvious. But what if the EU side of the Joint Committee proposes to extend the transition period to the 31st December 2099 anyway, and the UK side disputes that? The Court of Justice of the European Union will decide who wins that dispute.
Plainly Boris Johnson and other members of his Cabinet team have not read the Withdrawal Agreement. Neither has Nigel Farage, if he had read it, he would surely have brought its dark heart to public attention.
Respectfully, Ralph Prothero
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The EU thinks that sovereigntists have been defeated. But the Eurozone cannot survive much longer – without Fiscal and Political Union – which the German Constitution prevents. Germany has yet to agree to a joint EU treasury, or joint taxes, or debt pooling, or a full banking union with shared deposit insurance. So for now the Eurozone has no effective monetary of fiscal defences worth the name (see this DT article).
The key question is “Will the Germans allow their Constitution to be overridden, as U.K. politicians have done?” Clearly they are not going to do that in time to keep the Eurozone Titanic afloat.
So our EU friends, by all means go ahead with a no-deal Brexit if you dare and see what happens. Make our day. Since fiscal union would eviscerates budgetary powers of the Bundestag and would empty German democracy of meaning – raising the spectre of Weimar – don’t expect the Germans to lie down easily.
Respectfully, Roger Arthur
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months ago I wrote to several people suggesting a campaign to boycott German goods from 1st April if Britain wasn’t out of the EU by then. Sir John kindly replied along the lines that he tries to buy British, he had already stopped buying German goods and tries to buy non-EU goods in preference to EU goods whenever possible.
If people need to be reminded that for 40 years Britain has effectively been an economic colony of Germany encourage them to read Sir Paul Lever’s book ‘Berlin Rules’. There has never been a decision made by the EU that went against Germany’s economic interests and every economic decision made by the EU has increased Germany’s economic strength. This is clearly explained by Sir Paul, once an ambassador to Germany and a great admirer of Germany.
17.4 million Britons don’t have to wait for the next election to express their frustration. Please unite and start a boycott of German goods in particular, then French goods, then EU goods. Perhaps Sir John Redwood would endorse the boycott and if he did others would. It is needed now more than ever. Germany would see that a no deal Brexit is better than a prolonged and dramatic drop in sales of cars and white goods in Britain.
Respectfully, Jamila Maxwell