Mark’s EU Week for Transport 
The European Green Deal is the most ambitious EU project since the development of the Single Market back in 1993.  The aim is for Europe to become the world’s first carbon neutral continent by 2050. The implications for transport are profound, because unlike other industrial sectors which have cut greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, transport GHG emissions have risen by 19%. It will require a technological, social and a regulatory revolution in the way we trade and travel to reach that target, and I’ve identified 18 EU legislative proposals that will dramatically change the operating environment for road, rail, maritime and aviation services and we’ll be tracking them all over the year ahead. Read my blog and watch my vlog to learn more, and in particular why industry should not wait for these new EU regulations, but rather take a lead and drive the change. Those that do I argue will survive and thrive. Finally I explain why even in light of Brexit most if not all of these new regulations will apply to the UK irrespective of the sort of FTA we agree, not least for those that wish to operate or trade with the EU.

A lot of recent discussion since the UK’s formal departure from the EU has been, once again, around the following question: what type of deal does the UK want for its future relationship with the EU? We have heard many of the older Brexit jargon thrown around again, with Canada-type and Japan-type arrangements being discussed. A new one that has been thrown around is an ‘Australia-type deal’ which, as you may have seen, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen debunked as being a No Deal Brexit in disguise as it means trading on WTO terms due to ‘the EU having no trade agreement with Australia’. UKTiE will, over the coming months, continue its work in scoping out these various third country models and to better understand what options the UK has at its disposal and what each could mean for transport in the future relationship and how business can prepare.

This week’s song of the week is Australia by The Kinks.

1. TRAN Committee meetings
The European Parliament’s TRAN Committee will meet this week on February 19th and 20th. The agenda includes a presentation on February 20th by Transport Commissioner Adina Valean on transport policy and future perspectives. On the same day, there will also be an in camera exchange of views with the European Commission on the future EU-UK relationship. The Committee will also hear a report from Rapporteur Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D) on ongoing interinstitutional negotiations on Rail Passenger Rights and Obligations. 

2. Why Freeports are not the answer for the UK post-Brexit
The Financial Times writes that Ministers have published a consultation for a grand plan to create a series of freeports around the UK, which they say will be a cornerstone of efforts to regenerate deprived areas and make sure globalisation works for poorer communities. The article highlights that “The basic idea of a freeport is to create an enclave, inside a country’s land border but outside its normal customs regime, where companies can import, process and re-export goods duty-free — paying customs duties only if selling them on into the domestic market. Many countries have also offered tax breaks, lighter regulation, easier bureaucracy and investment in infrastructure as inducements to persuade businesses to set up shop, aiming to pull in foreign investment, boost trade and create jobs.” The article further adds that evidence of freeports working in developed countries, while useful in developing countries, is mixed and that the value of such an experiment remains questionable, at best.

3. What does the European Green Deal mean for transport?
UKTiE Coordinator Mark Watts’ new blog and vlog on what the European Green Deal means for transport. He writes that the sheer scale of the European Green Deal, one of the most ambitious EU projects ever, is breathtaking. In scope, to become the world’s first carbon neutral continent by 2050. In speed, with a target of at least 55% cuts in carbon emissions by 2030. Where does this ambitious plan leave transport? Facing a greater challenge than any other sector, transport will need to confront its biggest challenges and opportunities since the invention of the internal combustion engine in the 19th Century.

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

  • 17-18 February 2020 – Next ENVI Committee Meetings.
  • 19-20 February 2020 – Next TRAN Committee Meeting.
  • March 2020 – Start of free trade negotiations (tbc).
  • 1 July 2020 – Deadline for extension of the transition period.
  • 31 December 2020 – End of Transition Period (tbc).
Mark Watts
UK transport in Europe (UKTiE)
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