Mark’s EU Week for Transport 
Here we are, the first day of the rest of the rest of our lives. The UK-EU future relationship negotiations kick off today in Brussels with the first of what will be five rounds of negotiations between now and 16 May, and that includes the negotiations for the all important transport deal for all the modes

The pace of these negotiations will be frantic and a lot will need to be discussed and debated between the two sides if the negotiators want to achieve enough to keep the UK at the negotiating table beyond June. Although the timetable is a challenge for both sides, each also has specific challenges to bear in mind. The EU’s challenge is how to maintain its red lines while achieving enough progress in the negotiations to keep the UK at the negotiation table beyond June and possible convincing it of the need for an extension. For the UK, the challenge is the following: how much can the UK compromise before any UK-EU deal becomes politically difficult for the Government to accept?

These are but a few of the challenges that both sides will be facing. In light of these negotiation UKTiE is co-hosting an event with the UK Mission to the EU, the Department for Transport and the Foreign Office in London on Friday 27 March, to discuss what the UK’s transport priorities will be and how we can continue to show leadership at European and global level. Finding and understanding UK Transport stakeholders’ concerns and priorities for the future relationship between the UK and the EU will be a key part of this constructive ongoing dialogue that UKTiE and the UK Government have launched.  UKTiE has launched a similar dialogue with the EU side, and we will be continuing our constructive dialogue with Henrik Hololei, Director-General, at DG MOVE in the European Commission when we meet with him on 19 May. We will also be continuing our regular meetings with the incoming European Council presidencies as well as meeting with Barnier’s UK Task Force. 

This week’s song of the week is First Day of the Rest of our Lives by MxPx.

1. Negotiation mandates are published and negotiations start today
Last week, the UK published its mandate for the future relationship negotiations with the EU. This came after the EU published its mandate earlier last week. UKTiE will be putting together a comparative analysis of the key points for transport between the two documents. The two sides also agreed, last week, to the terms of reference of the negotiations which entail both the schedule of the rounds and the framework of the negotiations. In the two pictures below, you will see the schedule of negotiation rounds and the strands of negotiation that will taking place.

Negotiations are due to kick off today in Brussels, with a schedule of this week’s negotiations having already been published. Transport will be discussed both tomorrow and Wednesday.

2. Who is who on the EU negotiation side?
Politico has published a handy guide to the important people on both sides of the negotiation. Leading both sides will be Michel Barnier and David Frost. Of note will be David MacAllister, the German EPP MEP who is Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, who will be the new Guy Verhofstadt for this phase of the negotiations as he will be leading the Parliament’s position on the future relations with the U.K. Dider Seeuws, head of the Council’s Working Party on the U.K, and João Vale de Almeida, the new EU ambassador to the U.K, will also be key figures in the negotiation room. 

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:

  • 2-5 March 2020 – First Round of future relationship negotiations.
  • 4-5 March – Next ENVI Committee Meetings.
  • 16-17 March 2020 – Next TRAN Committee Meeting.
  • 18-20 March 2020 – Second Round of future relationship negotiations.
  • 27 March 2020 – UKTiE and UKMis London Event.
  • 6-8 April 2020 – Third Round of future relationship negotiations.
  • 27-30 April 2020 – Fourth Round of future relationship negotiations.
  • 13-16 May 2020 – Fifth Round of future relationship negotiations.
  • 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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