Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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European Lawmakers Praise UK Supreme Court Ruling

Demonstrators protest outside the Supreme court in central London on the first day of the hearing into the decision by the government to prorogue parliament on September 17, 2019./ AFP
European lawmakers hailed the British supreme court’s decision on Tuesday to overturn the suspension of the parliament in London as a victory for democracy. 
European Commission officials, currently locked in talks to try to revive the Brexit agreement, were cautious about being drawn into comment on British affairs.
But parliamentarians did not hold back, congratulating their cross-Channel Westminster counterparts on a legal victory against Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“At least one big relief in the Brexit saga: the rule of law in the UK is alive and kicking,” said Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian premier and head of the EU parliament Brexit steering group.
“Parliaments should never be silenced in a real democracy. I never want to hear Boris Johnson or any other Brexiteer say again that the European Union is undemocratic.”
British opponents of European Union membership often deride the bloc’s leaders as “un-elected Brussels bureaucrats”.
But the incoming EU Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, was approved by the European Parliament’s elected members, whereas Johnson has no Commons majority and has lost a series of key votes.
MEP David McAllister, German chair of the Strasbourg foreign affairs committee, welcomed the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that Britain’s parliament can get back to work.
But he warned that much remains to be done if Britain is to negotiate an orderly exit from the union before October 31, the latest deadline for Brexit day.
“The Supreme Court’s decision shows that the many doubts expressed about the forced parliamentary pause were justified. For the prime minister, the ruling is a defeat,” he said.
“At the same time it strengthens British parliamentarianism. Today’s decision, however, does not resolve the original political blockade.
“It is now time to return quickly to the objective debate. It must be possible to avert a disorderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU.”
The speaker of the European Parliament, Italy’s David Sassoli, hailed the UK court’s “important decision”.
“Any Brexit agreement needs to be approved by both UK and EU Parliament, so proper democratic scrutiny on both sides of the Channel is essential,” he tweeted.
But a spokeswoman for the EU’s executive arm, the commission, remained tight-lipped. “It’s not for us to comment on the internal constitutional matters of member states and this includes the United Kingdom,” she said.

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