EU’s ‘dangerous’ demands over Brexit are slammed by former Euro judge as he mocks the ‘indefensible’ £85billion divorce fee quest

  • EU’s £85billion Brexit settlement demands described by expert as ‘exaggerated’
  • Franklin Dehousse says Article 50 was invented ‘to show the EU was not a prison’
  • Former European Court of Justice judge warned: ‘This is not a war, but a divorce’

Belgian Franklin Dehousse, once a judge at the European Court of Justice called the EU’s settlement demands ‘exaggerated’.

The legal expert, who retired from the bench in October, also warned Brussels against involving the Luxembourg-based court extensively during Brexit negotiations saying it was ‘hardly the best setting to deal with such litigation’.

A former European judge has slammed the EU's 'dangerous' demands over Brexit describing the bloc's quest for an £85million divorce fee as 'indefensible' (file picture)

Writing for the Egmont Institute think tank he mocked claims Britain owed 100 billion euros (£85million) and joked: ‘Never have the British been so loved as for their net contribution to the EU budget.’

Dehousse, a professor at the University of Liège who has previous experience of negotiating EU treaties, said of the bloc’s position: ‘It is dangerous, for two very different reasons. First, of course, loading the boat excessively broadens the scope, increases expectations, generates conflicts and makes a final deal less likely. The EU, like the UK government before, needs to adjust to reality.

He added: ‘It must compare the limited immediate benefits of this drastic approach with the global benefits of a new deal.

‘Second, and this is more important, the EU must be extremely careful about the precedents it is creating now. Most people do not see it, as they did not believe before that Article 50 would ever be used, but there will be other exits from the EU.

‘We thus need reflect carefully to create future incentives for fair deals, and not systematic clashes. Article 50 was invented, after all, to show that the EU was not a prison. We must apply it accordingly.’

Dehousse warned against extensive use of the ECJ in the Brexit process because of its ‘very heavy procedures and very high costs’. He also described the involvement of the court as an ‘incredible legal vipers nest’.

In conclusion, the professor said the EU had ‘rightly insisted on settling all the legal, institutional and financial consequences, of more than 40 years of UK presence.’

The former judge spoke out as German chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured) said her country will approach Brexit negotiations on the understanding that Britain will continue to be a partner

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