Happy New Year from UKTiE Brexit ‘news and views’, which provides you with the key headlines in relation to Brexit, Brussels and transport, in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. We hope this news, analysis and advice will help you manage your Brexit strategy.

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.

1. European Parliament Committees delivering Brexit-focused working documents. Draft Resolution to go to April Plenary

The European Parliament Committees are currently gathering information with the aim of producing Brexit-focused working documents, and are expected to deliver them to the Conference of Committee Chairs (CCC) secretariat by the 13 of January. This fact finding work is to be supported by the relevant Commission DGs. Of particular relevance for transport is that it includes a study on the Customs Union and Brexit. Based on the committees’ input, the European Parliament will prepare a resolution to be adopted immediately after the triggering of Article 50 in March (most likely in the beginning of April 2017). This resolution will also incorporate the Parliament’s position on the Council negotiating guidelines for the Commission (guidelines expected in early May 2017). The TRAN Committee draft analysis document for road, rail, maritime and aviation is available for UKTiE Brexit Members. Given the approaching deadlines for the committees’ working documents, let us know if you need help drafting your written Brexit submission or advice on who to send it to.

2. Extraordinary meeting of European Parliament with Michel Barnier

An extraordinary meeting is set to take place between the European Parliament’s Conference of Committee Chairs and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier on 12 January in Brussels. This meeting is scheduled just before the deadline for submissions of the Committees’ working documents on 13 January.

3. Latest from the UK-EU Brexit ‘discussions’

Whilst there is ‘no negotiation without notification’, the UK Government was busy at the end of last year holding discussions with the EU institutions. The European Parliament’s chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt MEP met with the UK Prime Minister’s team, confirming that Article 50 will be triggered by end of March 2017. Whilst still awaiting the ruling of the Supreme Court following the Government appeal against the High Court decision, a one-article bill about the Parliament giving the Government the possibility to trigger Article 50 will take shape. This bill will be accompanied by a three-four page document highlighting the position of the UK government on the new relationship with the EU. We also understand the EU side shared with the UK team their preferred three-step model for the Brexit process. Commission chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has already won agreement from the other 27 countries and the European Parliament for his plan, which would consist of the Article 50 ‘withdrawal’ deal, then a transition deal, and finally a ‘new relationship’. Which aspects of transport – if any – will be in the transition deal will be central to our work.

4. Ivan Rogers’ resignation highlights the need for industry not to rely solely on DfT or UKREP

The UK does not have the skills required to negotiate a “hard-nosed” Brexit deal with the European Union, David Cameron’s former trade envoy has warned. Lord Marland, a Conservative peer, who now chairs the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, expressed concern over whether Whitehall was suited to reach a good deal. His warning comes after the departure of Britain’s experienced ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, who in turn warned over “muddled thinking” by ministers. Whilst he has been replaced by Sir Tim Barrow, a ‘seasoned and tough’ negotiator according to Number 10, this all underlines the advice received from senior UK Government insiders that industry cannot rely solely on DfT and UKREP to represent their interests during the Brexit negotiations. If they want their issues to be on the negotiating table they must put them there themselves. And that means speaking to all sides, not just the UK.

5. Join us for our exclusive UKTiE Brexit Briefings with key EU figures

Our 2017 programme of Chatham House Brexit briefings with Brexit negotiators and the people that advise them is being firmed up. Places are limited. Let us know if you wish to join UKTiE Brexit and secure your place.
Mark’s week

‘Happy New Year! Hope you are feeling refreshed after the Christmas and New Year break, and I hope one of your New Year’s resolutions is to join UKTiE Brexit so we can keep you on top of the discussions and negotiations in what will be a challenging year for everyone. One of our tasks is to sift out the relevant information from the growing volume of information, and then provide analysis on how that will impact you and advice on what you can do about it. Despite the festive break here in Brussels the EU has lost no time in finalising their preparations for the triggering of Article 50. In particular the European Parliament, which is the only body that can veto the Brexit deal, has been preparing their position, Committee by Committee. Insiders close to the UK’s three European Parliamentary Committee Chairs, who sit on one of the powerful Committees charged with overseeing the Brexit negotiations, have stressed how they would welcome submissions from the UK’s transport sector to inform their deliberations and strengthen their arguments. So if you have not done so already my advice is to send your Brexit positions to them asap. If you need help or more information please join UKTiE Brexit.’


Mark Watts
UK Transport in Europe


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