Finland will decide how Britain votes on new EU laws and regulations, thanks to Boris Johnson’s decision to pull British diplomats out of meetings in Brussels early.
The prime minister announced earlier this month that the UK would stop participating in EU meetings, in an attempt to signal to Brexiteers that he was serious about leaving the bloc at the end of October.
But the decision leaves the UK government with a reduced influence over new EU legislation, which will affect the UK for some time to come.
Because the UK is still entitled to a vote, the decision on how it should be cast will be delegated by power of attorney to Finland, which is the current rotating chair of the European Council.
Under the arrangement, the UK’s votes will be used “in a way that does not prevent the EU from moving ahead”, according to a letter from UK officials to other European diplomats. An alternative approach of simply having the UK abstain would have been potentially disruptive to the balance of power in the council.