Sorry EU! Brussels has no power to make UK pay sanctions if Brexit case goes ahead

Brexit: Expert says financial sanctions ‘politically awkward’

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Oxford Professor of European Law Stephen Weatherill said an EU attempt to levy sanctions on the UK would tank relations. While speaking on TRT World, he added it was legally possible for the EU to do so over the Brexit Northern Ireland trade deal row. However, he insisted there was no mechanism to force the UK to pay Brussels as it was a separate state from the bloc.

Professor Weatherill said: “It is ultimately possible that financial sanctions could be imposed on the UK.

“Legally it clearly is the case the UK would be responsible to pay the sums that are awarded against it.”

Despite this, Professor Weatherill insisted the EU would find it difficult to get the UK to pay for any sanctions against it.

He continued: “That would become politically awkward as there is no obvious way to enforce a judgement against the UK if it refuses to comply with it.

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“Although the procedures under the protocol resemble those that apply for the enforcement of European Union law within the EU, and they are translated to apply to the UK, the UK is ultimately not a member state.

“The ultimate enforcement of any award against the UK would be difficult to achieve.”

The professor added he is hopeful this does not become the case as this would only further increase tensions between Great Britain and the bloc.

He added: “Everyone is hoping that it would not get to that kind of stage.

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“That is because there would be such a level of bitterness involved that the issue not being resolved politically prior to that stage, things would be in a very dark place.”

The legal challenge from the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol is scheduled to be heard on May 13.

Boris Johnson’s Northern Ireland protocol has received criticism from both Rejoiners and Brexiteers.

The NI protocol was used to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland by ensuring Northern Ireland continues to adhere to some of the EU’s rules and regulations.

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However, it has been criticised for creating a border down the Irish Sea instead.

The EU has accused the UK of again breaching international law after London unilaterally extended the post-Brexit grace periods on trade in the region to deal with subsequent issues.

The bloc is demanding the UK provides a “credible road map” to implementing the outstanding requirements under the protocol.

Both sides said talks between officials last Friday took place in a “constructive atmosphere”.

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