Theresa May has the power to unilaterally reverse Brexit says EU's law chief
- The European Court of Justice believes the United Kingdom has the power to unilaterally revoke a decision to withdraw from the European Union.
- That would mean Britain loses none of the perks it would have to renegotiate if it had to beg to be let back into the EU instead.
The EU's law chief has advised that the UK should unilaterally be able to reverse Brexit in what could prove to be a landmark legal case.
On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice's Advocate General Campos Sanchez-Bordona proposed that the ECJ should declare that Article 50 - the legal mechanism which kickstarted Brexit - allows the "unilateral revocation" of a member state's intention to withdraw from the EU.
The court case was referred to the ECJ by Edinburgh's Court of Session in September after a legal case was brought by a group of anti-Brexit Scottish politicians.
The court case argues that Article 50, which triggered the UK's EU withdrawal process in March 2017, can be revoked without the agreement of the other 27 European member states.
Handing May's government the unilateral power to reverse Article 50 would allow the UK to retain the perks of its current membership including the economic rebate that Margaret Thatcher negotiated in 1984 and the UK's opt-out from the Euro. These would potentially be lost were Britain forced to seek the approval of the rest of the EU to reverse Brexit.
Gunther Oettinger, the EU's Budget Commissioner has previously stated that under those circumstances "the gradual exit from the rebate would still be kept."
Jolyon Maugham told BI in October that having the power to unilaterally reverse Brexit "sweetens the option of remaining" for the UK government.
"Plainly it is better for the country if we can unilaterally revoke the Article 50 notice," Maugham added. "In that circumstance, we know that we could treat Brexit as though it was all just a bad dream."
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has previously said that the EU27 would need to provide their consent to reverse the Brexit process. In that scenario, should the government seek in future to remain in the EU, it could lose the perks of membership it currently enjoys.
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