Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

U.K. Says EU Court May Hold Sway for ‘Limited’ Transition

  • ECJ may be able make U.K. rulings after Brexit in March 2019
  • Ending EU court’s influence was Brexit red line for May

The European Court of Justice may be able to make rulings that apply to the U.K. for a “limited” interim period after Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said in yet another sign of the government’s softening of the country’s stance on Brexit.

“He said the transition rules could involve the ECJ for a limited time, but obviously that’s all a matter for negotiation," the spokesman, James Slack, told reporters in London, referring to earlier remarks by May’s deputy, Damian Green, in a BBC radio interview.

The comments signal flexibility on one of May’s red lines: that the ECJ should have no sway over Britain after Brexit. The country is due to pull out of the bloc by the end of March 2019, but ministers have repeated that a transition deal may be needed to smooth the exit. 

When Green was asked to rule out influence of the ECJ during any such transition, he said that rules during that period would be different from the rules after Brexit is completed.

“If there needs to be some kind of implementation period or transition period in certain areas after March 2019, which I think everyone agrees is quite likely, then the rules that operate during that transition period will by definition not be the rules that we have afterwards,” Green said. “But that is a transition period that will last for a limited amount of time for practical reasons that business can have the certainty to carry on as we want it to.”

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