EU rallies member states to punish Boris Johnson and block UK access to dispute system

Brexit: German MEP hails UK's savings after leaving bloc

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The European Commission has issued a “communication” recommending that the UK should not be allowed to join the Lugano Convention. Eurocrats argue the accord is a benefit for single market members and shouldn’t be extended to Britain after Brexit. The Commission said: “Given the UK’s decision to leave the EU, its Single Market and Customs Union, as well as its decision to have a more distant relationship with the EU than EEA-EFTA countries, the Commission takes the view that the EU should not give its consent to the UK’s request to join the Convention.”

The Lugano Convention is a cross-border pact that determines which countries’ courts have jurisdiction over civil and commercial disputes.

Downing Street has expressed interest in joining the agreement, which is not an EU treaty.

The treaty is signed by the EU, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.

Britain gave up its Lugano membership as part of the Brexit process.

In its four-page communisation to member states, the Commission proposes that Britain instead join an alternative legal order.

It sates: “Consequently, the Hague Conventions should provide the framework for future cooperation between the European Union and the United Kingdom in the field of civil judicial cooperation.”

Eurocrats insist that the Lugano Convention is a benefit of membership to the EU’s single market.

But this opinion has put the Commission at odds with some member states.

At recent meetings of diplomats, only France was backing the EU executive’s hardline approach.

Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as the Nordic and Baltic states were backing British membership.

Germany was undecided on its position because of governmental splits but could play a key role in Britain rejoining Lugano because EU capitals have the final say on any decision.

Foreign affairs minister Heiko Maas was said to be at loggerheads with justice minister Christine Lambrecht over the decision.

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