UKTiE Brexit or 360° members can ask for more information if you wish to explore behind the headlines or require some bespoke analysis. Please contact us if you would like to join.

Mark’s Brexit Week for Transport
The two year countdown to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is about to begin, and the EU institutions are planning to move fast in adopting  their negotiating red lines in the coming weeks. The process and negotiating priorities are also becoming much clearer.  UKTiE will be hosting the first of our Brexit roundtables with some of the key EU insiders who will shape the final outcome soon after the notification of Article 50,  on April 12.  We are also becoming active in the new networking groups that are being set up in Brussels to track and influence the negotiations.  There may be no running commentary in Westminster, but here in Brussels we’re anticipating a much more transparent process.  Finally, Clifford Chance and the CBI have produced an excellent guide to Brexit, and it makes the sensible recommendation that individual companies will be more effective influencing Brexit if they ‘portray their demands as part of a unified voice from a specific industry, rather than as individual companies.’

That’s exactly the approach we’re adopting here at UKTiE, and I hope, if you have not already done so, to join us.

1. The timeline for the Brexit Red Lines for the European Parliament and European Council. Given the diverging dates for the triggering of Article 50, we have put together an overview of the likely Brexit timetable and key dates below. (Full list at the bottom)

  • If Article 50 is triggered on 9 March. The European Council will decide on the negotiation guidelines on 6 or 7 April.  The Parliament would have to adopt the resolution at the March plenary session in Strasbourg (13-16 March).
  • If Article 50 is triggered by the end of March. The European Council would decide on the guidelines on 26 April.  The Parliament would adopt its resolution at the April plenary session in Strasbourg (2-6 April).

The resolution would be prepared by the Conference of Presidents after consulting the Conference of Committee Chairs.  It would be signed by the Group leaders, plus by the Chair of AFCO committee. The purpose of the resolution is to give the European Parliament’s opinion and to define their ‘Red Lines’ vis a vis the Council guidelines. In the end, the European Parliament must give consent.

2. IMCO kicks off public Brexit process in EP
The European Parliament kicks of the Brexit process tomorrow with an Internal Market Committee workshop on both the consequences of Brexit and future scenarios for future cooperation between EU and UK.  UKTiE will be there. Let us know if you would like a note on and analysis of the meeting.

3. New Brexit Networking Groups
A new network of Brussels-based organisations which are active on Brexit is set to be launched. It brings together associations and organizations which have on-going activities, contacts and knowledge related to Brexit and longer term plans to work together in exchanging information and sharing a platform to compare positions and coordinate efforts as the formal Brexit negotiations are launched and developped. UKTiE is a founding member.

Another more informal network, ‘Brexit & Beer Club’ has already been launched. Co-hosted by EuropeEconomics and IDA, the network aims to facilitate a monthly exchange of views between industry, associations, institutions and negotiators on a non-attributable basis, over a beer.  Let us know if you wish to join us.

4. No avoiding inspections for trucks with Ireland, but a template customs deal for the EU?
The FT reports that British ministers hope to create a “virtual border” between the UK and Ireland which relies on light-touch inspection, and that this could become a template for UK trade with the rest of the EU. Meanwhile, trucks could be inspected at discrete inspection points away from the border, according to one EU official.

5. The future of Trade for the UK – a guide for businesses published by Clifford Chance and the CBI
The Brexit guide endorses the type of work UKTiE is undertaking on behalf of UK transport , urging industries to speak with one voice in Brussels. It outlines how the form of the future relationship between the UK and the EU will have a direct impact on the issues businesses will need to consider and be prepared for following the exit of the UK from the EU. In particular it highlights one of the main UKTiE concerns – namely the almost impossible task of agreeing on everything in the framework of two years: ‘a key practical difficulty facing government and businesses is timing. Negotiating an agreement comprehensive enough to address all of the issues important to UK and EU businesses within the two year period in Article 50 presents very considerable legal, practical and political challenges.’  It concludes by supporting the approach adopted by UKTiE: the need for transitional arrangements. These agreements  ‘would avoid a cliff edge, and give the UK and the EU time to agree a comprehensive, beneficial and sustainable long term agreement. It would also allow businesses the time to ensure that their concerns and priorities were fully understood by the UK Government and incorporated into its approach in reaching agreement with the EU.’ Let us know if you have evidence to support our efforts to seek transitional arrangements.

6. Brexit negotiations to follow ’rounds’ format in Brussels
As the triggering of Article 50 is drawing closer, the shape and form of the upcoming Brexit negotiations is becoming clearer. According to EU experts, discussions are to take place in Brussels (as opposed to ideas to hold them in London, other capitals or in rotation). In addition, the talks will take place in “rounds” and not chapters or in one endless discussion. One aspect which is becoming increasingly evident is that the EU expects decisions on funding and reciprocal rights for its citizens before touching on any form of discussion about the post-Brexit trade relationship. UKTiE will be hosting a Chatham House roundtable on process, procedures, priorities and politics of the Brexit negotiations on April 11. Let us know if you wish to attend.

7. The domino effect of Brexit for transport
Following up on previous warnings from CEOs across the transport industry, this week brings a new round from Ryanair as they urge the UK Government to prioritise agreements for barrier-free travel between the UK and EU. Ryanair have claimed that UK negotiators are failing to grasp the urgency of striking this deal, warning that industry needs a year’s notice in planning schedules after the UK leaves the EU. These comments come in addition to the reduced UK growth plans for the carrier, projected at 6% in 2018 (compared to 15% in 2017). Meanwhile UK regulated ship insurers are already scouting locations in Luxembourg and Cyprus in their plans to open new outposts following Brexit. This decision comes as a fear that the access to the EU financial market will be hindered.  American companies however are giving more encouraging signals – Boeing have recently announced their plan to open its first European factory in post Brexit UK, delivering a vote of confidence to Britain’s capabilities outside of the EU.

8. UKTiE have also put together the latest timetable for Brexit. We will keep this up to date in light of developments:  

  • 9 March 2017: If Article 50 is triggered then the European Council will decide on the negotiation guidelines on 6 or 7 April.  The European Parliament will adopt their resolution at the March plenary session in Strasbourg (13-16 March).
  • End of March 2017: If Article 50 triggered then the European Council would decide on the guidelines on 26 April. The European Parliament will adopt their resolution at the April plenary session in Strasbourg (2-6 April).
  • May/June 2017 – Negotiations formally begin
  • 15 March 2017 – Dutch General Election
  • 23 April & 7 May 2017 – French Presidential elections
  • 24 September 2017 – German Federal elections
  • 30 September 2018 – Date by which EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, wants to conclude the terms of Britain’s exit from the Union
  • 31 March 2019 –  Date by which Theresa May wants to conclude the negotiations over Brexit
  • May 2019 – Britain formally exits the EU, following ratification of Brexit by all other member states and the European Parliament.
  • June 2019 – European Parliament elections

Mark Watts
UK transport in Europe (UKTiE)


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