, 17 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Let's talk about 'sincere cooperation' for a bit, shall we?

The Treaty on European Union Art 4(3) states:

"Pursuant to the principle of sincere cooperation, the Union and the Member States shall, in full mutual respect, assist each other in carrying out tasks which flow from the Treaties....

"...The Member States shall take any appropriate measure, general or particular, to ensure fulfilment of the obligations arising out of the Treaties or resulting from the acts of the institutions of the Union...

"....The Member States shall facilitate the achievement of the Union's tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union's objectives."

We're talking about this because one of the concerns of the EU27 is that the UK might become disruptive if it gets a long extension, making the EU unable to function properly/normally

Thus, the UK might be a pain about appointing a new Commission and new European Council President this autumn, or about finances (the annual budget due late this year or the multiannual framework to be agreed in 2020)

Hence all the talk about sincere cooperation: the UK, as a member state, will be bound to play by the rules of Art.4(3)TEU, but is it enough?

The dilemma is this. Under Art.4(3), the UK must act to fulfil its treaty obligations and not to undermine the Union. But where does the line between that and day-to-day politics run?

Cast your minds back to, well, pretty much any EU 'discussion' about choosing new leaders for EU institutions or financial packages and you'll find lots of very difficult behaviour

Consider Cameron's failed effort to block the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker to Commission president in 2014, or the Feb 2013 marathon to get the last MFF over the line (bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politi…)

No-one suggested then that this was contrary to Art.4(3)

There has been some talk of asking the UK to sign up to some commitments about sincere cooperation in return for a long extension, but these too run in major problems

Firstly, a member state is a member state, so absent legal limitations in the treaties, constraints on behaviour are down to self-policing

Secondly, and more delicately, the EU has made much of the need for legal certainty around the #EP19 elections, because of the treaty.

It cannot easily then argue that the UK not avail itself of the rights of EU membership, including voting on decisions that affect it

As much as the rule of law has been a strength of the EU in the Art.50 process, here it cuts the other way: rights have to go hand-in-hand with obligations

Of course, in practice, this might be a problem as the UK has been only semi-engaged in EU work since #EUref, but that doesn't mean it'll not be open to changing that approach

In sum, sincere cooperation is a double-edged sword for the EU, so watch it being used with care/awkwardness

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