Brussels wants power to punish the UK during Brexit transition period

Posted On: 
7th February 2018

The European Union is demanding the power to impose swingeing punishments on Britain if it breaks any part of the post-Brexit transition deal.

Britain wants an EU transition deal of around two years.
PA Images

Sanctions suggested in a leaked Brussels paper include the grounding of flights, suspending single market access and imposing trade tariffs on the UK.

In demands which will undoubtedly infuriate Tory Brexiteers, the EU would have the power to fast-track the measures without any reference to the European Court of Justice.

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According to The Times, the five-page text calls for "a mechanism allowing the union to suspend certain benefits deriving for the UK from participation in the internal market where it considers that referring the matter to Court of Justice of the EU would not bring in appropriate time the necessary remedies".

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the backbench Tory European Research Group, said: "Thank heavens we are leaving an organisation that takes such an aggressive stance when you don’t do what you are told.

"There are all sorts of problems with this. It will make negotiations of future trade deals very difficult. The Government will find it very difficult to agree to this."

The EU demands emerge on the eve of crunch talks between the EU and UK over the terms of any transition deal, which would run from Brexit day on March 30, 2019, until around the end of 2020.

It also comes as members of Theresa May's Brexit war Cabinet meet in an attempt to clarify what kind of long-term relationship the UK wants with the bloc.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports that the Republic of Ireland is demanding a "legal text" over the future of its border with Northern Ireland as early as next month.

In the deal agreed on the first phase of Brexit negotiations before Christmas, the Government agreed that there would be no hard Irish border introduced after Brexit.

But a senior Irish government official said: "Like the UK, we have consistently said that it is our preference to resolve these issues through the wider future relationship agreement between the EU and the UK.

"However, in case this is not possible, we must at the same time ensure legal certainty in the withdrawal agreement that reflects the commitments made by the UK in phase one of the negotiations."