Mark’s EU Week for Transport 
This week the world’s focus shifts to New York City for the UN Climate Action Summit, which will seek to set ambitious climate objectives ahead of COP25 in Chile in December. This happens a week before the European Parliament hearings for the European Commissioners-designate who will undoubtedly be drawn on climate objectives, including Rovana Plumb the Transport Commissioner-designate. We will be bringing you an analysis of that hearing, but we already know that she is facing an uphill battle for confirmation that will be made tougher by demands for concrete climate measures. The Special Transport Council that took place last week will feed into the climate ambitions for European transport, we report on those discussion below. 

As the Brexit debate has stalled in the aftermath of the prorogation of Parliament, UKTiE are now looking at forthcoming European legislation in a jam-packed programme for rules and regulations that will continue to apply to the UK in some way, shape or form. In the weeks ahead, we will learn more about what that programme entails, especially as it concerns transport, and will continue to update you on all the twists and turns ahead of what will surely be a highly anticipated European Commission work programme in the New Year.

This week’s song of the week, is New York Minute by Don Henley.

1. TRAN Committee – September 24th 
This week TRAN Committee will meet tomorrow and there is a lot on the agenda. Among others, there will be votes on ‘Common rules for the allocation of slots at European Union airports’, ‘Implementation of the Single European Sky’, ‘Enforcement requirements and specific rules for posting drivers in the road transport sector’ and ‘Common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services’. 

2. Special Transport Council – Main Results
Last week, there was a Special Transport Council. The Council held an extensive policy debate on how to decarbonise transport in order to combat climate change and meet the Paris Agreement objectives. Separate sessions were dedicated to land transport (road, rail and inland navigation), aviation and shipping. The Finnish presidency will sum up the ministers’ debate as input for the European Council in mid-October, which is expected to finalise its guidance before the end of the year. The EU can then adopt its long-term climate strategy and present it to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by 2020, as required by the Paris Agreement.

3Transport shortlist drawn up to boost no-deal Brexit freight capacity
The Financial Times reports that Eurotunnel, Brittany Ferries, P&O and Stena are among transport companies on a UK government shortlist to provide up to £300m of additional international freight capacity in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Ministers are preparing to award contracts to ensure that the supply of crucial medicines and food can continue to reach the UK in any circumstances. The government will now hold “mini competitions” to see which companies on the shortlist can provide the best service and price — with a deadline of early October. The initial contracts, which will run from October 31, would provide sufficient capacity for thousands of heavy trucks per week, the DfT said. They will focus on ports away from those, such as Dover, Folkestone, Calais and Dunkirk, which are expected to experience the most disruption.

4. 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.
  • 23-24 September 2019 – Next TRAN Committee meetings
  • 25-26 September 2019 – Next ENVI Committee meetings
  • 02 October 2019 – Rovana Plumb European Parliament hearing
  • 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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