EU companies ‘don’t trust courts’ in Europe and may move to UK to get better protection

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The prediction comes as a French minister warned there remains only “a few more hours or days” for Brussels and Britain to clinch a post-Brexit trade deal. Clement Beaune pointed out that if a trade pact was secured over the coming hours or days the European Parliament will have to first approve it and it will take time to examine the text.

France’s minister for European affairs suggested that if the approval process cannot be done by December 31, when the UK’s Brexit transition period ends, it could be carried over into the new year.

He said France would give “a few more hours, a few more days” to reach a UK-EU trade deal that respects his country’s red lines and priorities.

Mr Beaune said Britain’s fishing proposals are unacceptable for France.

The French government said earlier it was sticking to its “red lines” when it came to EU rights to fish in British waters.

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Business owners in continental Europe may be looking to take their firms to the UK in search of more robust protections for their money, a report has claimed.

It said some companies have expressed a lack of confidence in the judicial systems of some EU member states.

The report read: “European companies may get better protection for their investments in the EU — by setting up shop in Britain.

“Businesses in countries such as Germany warn they could move part of their operations to the UK to benefit from stronger legal protections when investing in EU countries such as Hungary and Romania.

“They say it all comes down to trust — and they don’t trust courts in some countries to rule fairly.”

On Monday Boris Johnson said he remained confident the UK would “prosper mightily” in the event of a no deal Brexit as time runs out to agree a trade deal with the bloc.

Speaking at Downing Street’s press conference, he was pressed on whether he still stands by his previous prediction, given the chaos at the border with France in recent hours.

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France announced it was closing its borders with the UK for 48 hours after a new strain of coronavirus was detected in Britain.

The Prime Minister said his confident position on a hard exit remains “unchanged.”

Mr Johnson said: “There are problems, it’s vital that everybody understands that the UK has got to be able to control its own laws completely and also that we’ve got to be able to control our own fisheries.

“And it remains the case that WTO terms would be more than satisfactory for the UK and we can certainly cope with any difficulties that are thrown our way.

“Not that we don’t want a deal but the WTO terms would be entirely satisfactory.

“And ‘prosper mightily’ remains an extremely good description of life after January 1 either way.”

Mr Beaune said the EU wants a deal – but not at any cost.

He said: “Let’s try to find this good agreement but not an agreement at any cost.”

Talks on reaching a deal on future relations have been largely snagged on two issues – the EU’s fishing rights in British waters and creating a so-called level playing field ensuring fair competition rules for businesses on both sides.

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