There is continuing uncertainty over the question of whether the UK will be able to join the 2007 Lugano Convention, which governs questions of jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments between the EU and Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Together with the recast Brussels Regulation, which governs such questions as between EU Member States, the Lugano Convention ceased to apply to the UK at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.
Accession to the Lugano Convention requires the unanimous consent of the current contracting states and, while Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are supportive of the UK’s membership, the EU has not yet reached a decision. The UK submitted its application last April (see this post) and it had been hoped that the position would be clear by now, since the Convention provides that contracting parties “shall endeavour to give their consent” within a year. But that is not a hard deadline, and it now seems clear that a decision will not be reached for some weeks or months.
While recent press reports have suggested that the European Commission is opposed to the UK’s application, we understand that it has not reached a definite position. The Commission is due to issue a formal communication to EU Member States in the coming weeks setting out its stance.
Ultimately the decision will be for the Council of the European Union, by qualified majority voting. This means that approval requires a 55% majority in favour, ie 15 out of the 27 Member States, representing at least 65% of the EU population.