Mark’s EU Week for Transport
Brexit has happened. After 3 years of back and forth, the United Kingdom has formally left the European Union. Despite the departure we are still no clearer on something we covered in our last News & Views when we discussed the question of alignment to EU regulations in the future relationship. That questions is as hot today as it has ever been following comments made by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on the Andrew Marr show insisting that the UK would not formally sign up to such level playing field arrangements.
We have, for months, said that the EU would treat level playing field arrangements as the golden ticket for Single Market access. Today, the European Commission published the draft mandate for the EU-UK trade talks. The document clearly links market access to alignment when it says: “The European Council reiterated in particular that the future relationship with the United Kingdom will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations and ensure a level playing field.” Here we see that the eventual mandate, something that the EU rarely deviates from, will stand firm on the UK signing up to level playing field arrangements. The UK says it will maintain, if not increase, standards but will not formally commit to using the EU’s as a minimum. Stay tuned for this as the first big fight of the trade talks.
The European Parliament will now reshape itself following the departure of the UK, now down to 705 seats down from 751. Although the UK will no longer be a formal member of the European Union, the European Parliament remains as important as ever to follow as the emboldened institution seeks further ambition added onto an already ambitious European Commission Work Programme (which was published last week). The Work Programme includes some important transport aspects that will need to be followed carefully as they will, most likely, continue to apply to the UK after the transition period.
This week’s song of the week, in honour of the UK’s departure last week, is Someone Like You (EU) by Adele.
1. Draft mandate for UK-EU trade talks published
Today the European Commission published the draft mandate for UK-EU trade talks. The document, to be agreed and potentially amended by the European Council, outlines what the EU has been saying for a long time: level playing field obligations in exchange for market access. On level playing field, EU wants “open and fair competition” in these areas: State aid, Competition, State-owned enterprises, Social and employment standards, Environmental standards, Climate change and Relevant tax matters. Chapter 10 of the document outlines the transport-relevant aspects of the draft mandate, covering aviation, rail and road transport.
On aviation, “The envisaged partnership should address comprehensively the aviation relationship with the United Kingdom. It should ensure, on the basis of commercial principles and fair and equal opportunities to compete, a reciprocal, sustainable and balanced opening of markets while preserving the internal market for air transport services. Certain elements of the envisaged partnership may be implemented in a phased approach.” In addition, the document also outlines that “The envisaged partnership should ensure that all Union air carriers are treated equally and in a non-discriminatory manner, regardless of nationality, in all matters covered by the agreement.”
On road, “The envisaged partnership should establish open market access for bilateral road freight transport, including unladen journeys, made in conjunction with these operations.” The document further outlines what will be done with regards to cabotage rights, “As third country operators, United Kingdom road haulage operators should not be granted the same rights and benefits as those enjoyed by Union road haulage operators in respect of road freight transport operations from one Union Member State to another (“grand cabotage”) and road freight transport operations within the territory of one Union Member State (“cabotage”)”.
2. European Commission Work Programme 2020 published
Last week, the European Commission published its 2020 Work Programme. A full list of the new policy objectives ambitions are set out in Annex 1 of the Work Programme.
Of interest to transport stakeholders will be the following:
· Industrial Strategy (non-legislative, Q1 2020)
· European Climate Law (legislative, Q1/Q2, 2020)
· Strategy for sustainable and smart mobility (non-legislative, Q4 2020)
· ReFuelEU Aviation – Sustainable Aviation Fuels (legislative, , Q4 2020)
· FuelEU Maritime – Green European Maritime Space (legislative, Q4 2020)
· Revision of airport charges (legislative, Q4 2020)
· Revision of the provision of air services (legislative, Q4 2020)
3. Road safety must be a top priority for new Transport Commissioner
UKTiE Coordinator Mark Watts’ new blog and vlog on why road safety needs to be a top priority for new Transport Commissioner, Adina Valean. Mark writes that in Europe over 25,000 people are killed every year in road traffic crashes, it’s the equivalent of a jumbo jet a week crashing. We do not put up with it in aviation, so why do we tolerate it on the roads?
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.
- 3 February 2020 – Next ENVI Committee Meeting
- 19-20 February 2020 – Next TRAN Committee Meeting.
- 31 December 2020 – End of Transition Period (tbc).
UK transport in Europe (UKTiE)