Mark’s EU Week for Transport 
Following weeks of negotiations and ‘will they, won’t they?’ back and forth, we now have a clearer picture of how the institutional leadership looks like and how the European Parliament committees look like.

Starting with the European Parliament, the TRAN Committee saw Karima Delli (Greens, FR) re-elected as Chair and the Vice-Chairs are now Johan Danielsson (S&D, SE), Sven Schulze (EPP, DE), Istvan Ujhelyi (S&D, HU). With what is sure to be an ambitious legislative programme, Karima Delli’s re-election as chair does promise some form of continuity amid an institution that has 63% of it’s members as newly-elected. This helps the TRAN Committee avoid much of the uncertainty plaguing other committees but also leaves us knowing that, with the Greens retaining chairmanship, the climate action-oriented stance of the committee will continue.

Across the other institutions, a package deal agreed at the European Council has seen Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel chosen as the new President of the European Council, and German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as the nominee for President of the European Commission.

With the institutional ‘chaos’ that has underpinned these tough negotiations, we will now hopefully see the legislative cycle get in full swing come September. Although the looming Brexit deadline of October 31st will come quickly following the summer recess, September-October will certainly prove a busy period with the new European Parliament seeking to start its new mandate on the front foot ahead of the new European Commission coming into office as of November 1st, 2019.

At UKTiE we have been continuing our meeting programme ahead of September by meeting with Henrik Hololei, Director-General at DG MOVE, and with the Canadian and Norwegian Missions to the EU as we continue to prepare for life outside of the EU.

This week’s song of the week, is Let’s Get it Started by the Black Eyed Peas.

1. New TRAN Committee faces ambitious and challenging agenda
With about 10% of the 10% of the legislative files left over by the last Parliament are transport-based. The head of the Commission’s transport directorate, Henrik Hololei, said the agenda ahead is “ambitious and challenging”. Karima Delli was re-elected as Chair of the TRAN Committee, Euractiv have re-published a profile of Karima Delli from when she was first elected as Chair of the committee. 

2. Britain not ready for No Deal Brexit
Industry leaders fear trade with the European Union could be severely disrupted after it emerged that emergency plans put in place to minimise disruption under a no-deal Brexit in March, have not been rolled over for the United Kingdom’s exit in October. Ministers were handed a confidential list of contingency measures which they must secure for October 31 in order to limit disruption at Britain’s borders and keep trade with the EU flowing if there is a no-deal Brexit. The list, drawn up by the Freight Transport Authority, lays out contingency measures and agreements that were implemented for a possible no-deal Brexit earlier this year — but now risk expiring either before October 31, or soon after it.

3.  European Parliament to vote on Commission President nominee Ursula von der Leyen tomorrow
Tomorrow, the European Parliament will have its chance to vote on German Defence Minister and European Commission President nominee Ursula von der Leyen. A nominee that has emerged from the ashes of the Spitzenkandidat system and from a European Council compromise agreement will surely have a tricky time getting approved. With von der Leyen’s fate now seemingly in the hands of the S&D group, we may yet see her voted down and causing a renewed institutional crisis or a postponed vote until September. Whatever the outcome of this vote, or later votes, it is clear that the European Council has gotten one over the European Parliament by breaking the Spitzenkandidat system which will undoubtedly be a factor in the forthcoming mandate as the Parliament will seek to be even more proactive and involved than ever before.

4. Environment, environment, environment! The three top policy priorities for the new EU mandate
In his most recent blog, Mark writes that now the dust has settled on the results of the European elections it’s becoming clearer who will secure which top jobs. It’s also becoming clearer what the policy priorities will be over the next five years. And the three top policy priorities of the EU? Environment, environment, environment.

5. UKTiE has also put together the latest timetable for Brexit. We will keep this up to date as the process develops:

  • 29 March 2017 – A50 triggered.
  • 5 April 2017 – European Parliament adopted Brexit guidelines.
  • 22 May 2017 – Brexit negotiating directives approved by Council.
  • 19 June 2017 –  Negotiations formally began.
  • 23 March 2018– European Council agreed guidelines on the future trading relationship.
  • 23-26 May 2019 – European Parliament election.
  • 2 July – First meeting of the European Parliament.
  • 8 July – First meeting of the TRAN Committee.
  • 31 October 2019 – The UK will formally leave the EU. (tbc)
  • 01 November 2019 – Start of new European Commission mandate. (tbc)
  • 31 December 2020 – End of Transition Period (tbc).
Mark Watts
UK transport in Europe (UKTiE)

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