After Brexit happens at 11pm on Friday, the UK is set to enter a “transition period” in which the government will thrash out its future relationship with the bloc, including a trade deal.
But The Times reported an internal Brussels document as saying the EU will insist that the European Court of Justice is able to enforce the terms of a trade, fishing and security deal.
A document seen by the paper reportedly states that having a defined role for the Luxembourg court, which adjudicates on EU laws, would “ensure consistent interpretation of the agreement” between the UK and EU.
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It would be a direct contradiction to the 2016 referendum Vote Leave mantra of “taking back control” and, with just days until the UK’s scheduled departure, is a sign of just how difficult the transition period talks will be.
Boris Johnson has insisted the transition period will end on December 31, whether or not the two sides agree a deal.
It comes as Europe minister Christopher Pincher represented the government at the last scheduled ministerial meeting during the UK’s membership of the EU in Brussels.
Mr Pincher, attending the general affairs council, said: “I’m here to reassert to my EU friends and colleagues that, though we are leaving the EU, we are not leaving Europe.
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“Our shared history, our shared values, our commitment to security and prosperity continue as equals – sovereign equals.”
Mr Pincher said he would deliver the message that “as we leave the EU we will always be allies, partners and friends”.