Dozens of EU directives could come into force during Brexit transition without UK having say on them, says leaked report

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Tuesday 06 February 2018 10:32 GMT
Britain will lose voting rights in Brussels during the transition - but will be required to accept new EU directives
Britain will lose voting rights in Brussels during the transition - but will be required to accept new EU directives (Getty)

Dozens of EU directives could come into force during the post-Brexit transition period without Britain having a say over them, a leaked Government document suggests.

The long list appears to contradict Theresa May’s claim that agreeing to accept new EU rules – for up to two years – would have little practical impact because very few would be introduced.

It will anger Brexiteers who have warned that Britain will be a “vassal state” if the Prime Minister agrees to accept new laws after voting rights in Brussels are lost.

Directives to dramatically boost household recycling, improve energy efficiency, affecting “clearing houses” in the City of London and insuring off-road vehicles are all in the pipeline.

The leak also sets the scene for renewed clashes at the crucial meetings of the inner Cabinet, tomorrow and Thursday, which are intended to map a route out of the Brexit confusion.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has led calls for Britain to refuse to accept any new EU rules during transition, but Brussels has made it a red line to agreeing a deal to avoid a damaging “cliff edge” withdrawal

To try to head off the flashpoint, both the Prime Minister and David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, have argued the Brussels wheels turn too slowly for many new directives to come forward in transition.

Mr Davis has also pledged to “set up arrangements to ensure that they do not harm the United Kingdom”, but without explaining how this could be achieved.

The list, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, contains 37 EU laws that could come into force, some already opposed by ministers as they try a compromise before Brexit, in March 2019.

It includes a new Waste Framework Directive, which could require Britain to increase its recycling levels from 44 per cent to as much as 70 per cent.

The UK Government has insisted the target is not “feasible” without separate bins for food waste, garden waste and recycling for all households, which it fears will be unpopular.

The Whitehall analysis concludes, the Telegraph said, that the directive has a “high likelihood of materialising” and poses a “high risk”.

The EU is also demanding that clearing houses for euros based in the City of London, providing tens of thousands of jobs and tens of billion in revenue, move to the Continent.

Ministers have also claimed that Britain will be "unfairly penalised" under binding new EU energy efficiency targets which could apply for more than a decade after Brexit.

The Energy Efficiency Directive states that Britain and other member states should make energy efficiency savings of 30 per cent by 2030, creating “perverse incentives” the UK has argued.

Meanwhile, ministers and farming groups have criticised EU proposals to introduce limits on phosphate fertilisers, fearing the plans will hike prices make British farmers less competitive.

Again, the leaked paper says all three of those directives have a “high likelihood” of materialising and carries a “high risk”.

The EU is also introducing a new law which could require people to insure all off-road vehicles, including tractors, golf buggies, mobility scooters and quad bikes.

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