Maybe the next one of these articles I write should be split into two parts; one for the political and one for the technical. There does seem to be continuing divergence between the two. The political environment is as volatile as ever with growing uncertainty surrounding the possibility of a “no deal” situation. Stories of contingency planning have delighted the media as we are told food and pharmaceuticals are being stockpiled. At the same time the Government assures us that we are making good progress in the UK-EU negotiation. Parliament returns on Tuesday, 4 September, so I guess the next month may be quieter. Perhaps the sharks off the Cornish coast will get all the headlines during the summer.
Technical developments are following that well-loved tee shirt slogan: “keep clam and carry on”. This week another key document has been published, namely: Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
We are told that the UK and the EU have agreed that the UK’s exit will be followed by a time-limited implementation period that will last from the moment of exit until 31 December 2020.
It’s good to see in the document mentioned above there is a section on participation in EU institutions, agencies and bodies. It says that; guidance is being worked up on the consistent interpretation and application of the criteria for UK participation in EU bodies during the implementation period. So, basically there may be some stability until 31 December 2020 but after that no one knows.
I’m taking it as read that this includes the UK membership of EASA. The paper goes on to say that these arrangements are unlikely to require any provision in the Bill. That is the UK Bill introducing the legislation for the final Withdrawal Agreement. That does strike me as strange given that the UK will go from being a Member State to a “third country” in respect of EU legislation.
The paper recognises that the UK participates in several international agreements because of being a Member State. That includes the aviation bilateral agreements. At the European Council meeting in March, there was agreement that the UK is to be treated as a Member State for the purposes of international agreements during the implementation period. Parties to the aviation agreements will be notified of this approach by the EU. This is important. Let’s hope the parties concerned agree too.
The last line of the 38-page document says that once the Withdrawal Agreement has been ratified by the UK and concluded by the EU it will enter into force at 11pm on 29 March 2019. The clock is ticking, as they say.