Brexit deal could be snared in translation litigation

Brexit negotiators face yet another hurdle in their quest for a deal: a deadline of next Monday to get documents in the hands of EU translators, a senior EU official said Wednesday.

The looming end of the Brexit transition period at the end of the year — and the need for ratification by the British and European parliaments — already has negotiators under severe time pressure to finish their work on a future trade and political relationship. But the senior EU official said that there were also technical obstacles that would prevent the EU from translating the text of any agreement into all of the EU’s 23 official languages other than English, if that work does not begin by November 23.

Asking EU heads of state and government and the European Parliament to approve the agreement without translation could create an opportunity for legal challenges, or even stall the process into next year if any officials refuse to consider the English-only documents, as is their legal right.

France, in particular, has objected to the use of English-only documents in EU business, and in 2018 the French ambassador walked out of a meeting to drive home the point.

“If we don’t

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