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Commission advises EU to say No to Lugano Accession


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Yesterday, the European Commission published its assessment of the UK’s application to accede to the 2007 Lugano Convention.

The Commission advises the EU to reject the UK’s application to join the Convention for two key reasons.

First, the Commission notes that those non-EU countries which have acceded to the Lugano Convention “all participate, at least partly, in the EU’s internal market” – this being by way of the EEA agreement for Norway and Iceland, and a number of bilateral trade agreements for Switzerland. This economic link, or “high degree of economic interconnection”, between those third countries and the EU’s internal market, says the Commission, is a key basis for their accession to the Convention.  By contrast, the Commission says, the “United Kingdom is a third country without a special link to the internal market”.

Second, the Commission invokes “[t]he EU’s longstanding approach” that the appropriate framework for civil justice cooperation with third countries is provided by the Hague Conventions and there is no reason, when it comes to the UK, to depart from this approach. The Commission also cites the absence of a reference to a UK accession to Lugano in “any joint EU/UK documents on the framework of the future relationship”.

The Commission’s recommendation, available here, is not binding on the European Council, which will make the final decision on whether to allow the UK to accede to the Convention.

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