Putting aside the strange peculiarities of what has been happening in the UK Parliament this week the subject of “cherry-picking” has arisen again. The unprecedent situation of a major Country leaving the European Union inevitably leads to an unpicking of arrangements that have stood the test of time. The consequence of this unpicking was not understood by most people two-years ago. Now, to use a well-used metaphor; the chickens have come home to roost.
Taking a position of high-principle the idea of “cherry-picking” is strongly resisted by the EU and European Governments. Crudely, this is the case where the leaving Country rejects the parts of European cooperation they don’t like but hangs on to the ones they do like.
There’s nothing wrong with a Country’s expression of self-interest and, in the end, one would hope that a degree of pragmatism will prevail on all sides. So, how does anyone come to a win-win outcome when high-principle and pragmatism are peppered with destructive rhetoric from the political classes?
An example is the “outrage” of politicians and media over the possibility that the UK maybe “excluded” from Galileo space project. Now, if the UK wants to opt-in to such important European projects, it will have to sign-up to a “third country” agreement and make a financial contribution. Asking its former partners – to wait while – isn’t a reasonable option given the slowness with which the UK is forging its new policy positions.
Similar dilemmas face the decisions related to the UK’s continued membership of several European agencies. Whilst the UK ponders, major changes continue to take place within the European Union. Some say, UK Ministers will have to accept that their vision of Brexit, as articulated in the Prime Minister’s Mansion House speech, will not be ready for December 2020.
An example of need for a choice to be made is the great work that has been put into updating the European Regulation that determines the roles and responsibilities of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). In December 2015, the European Commission proposed to update aviation safety rules. At the time the UK was supportive of this activity. Now, an updated European Regulation has been voted through the European Parliament and will become law.
I’m pleased this has been adopted because the above includes work I started a decade ago. It’s great to see that a “European Plan for Aviation Safety” will become part of the framework.
Will the UK opt-in to this or not?