The politics of the day would seem to be “divide and rule”. Not an entirely unknown approach and, when conducted in the open, can make you look silly if it doesn’t work.
There are three parts to the European Union that need to be convinced that the Withdrawal Agreement they see on 18 October is one they wish to accept. The three are: the European Commission, the Council and the Parliament. The most powerful is clearly the Member States as they sit in the Council of the European Union. This week the UK is attempting to influence the Council through influencing Member States that it thinks could be persuaded to be sympathetic to the UK Government’s White Paper proposals.
The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU Member States every 6 months. The Austrian presidency of the Council runs from 1 July to 31 December 2018. That explains why Mrs May has been in Austria. Tonight’s news would suggest that trip isn’t going all that well. Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz has told Mrs May it’s “important to avoid a hard Brexit”.
Romania has the Council presidency from January to June next year. They are the ones who may have to wave the UK goodbye or not as the case maybe.
If there is “no deal” between the EU and the UK there is no automatic fall-back position for the aviation sector. It will be a unique situation where the EU Member States continue to apply all the existing rules and regulations and a “new” neighbouring State becomes unpredictable. The Brexiteer lobby entirely misleads the public when saying: “it will all be alright on the night.”
As the UK leaves the EU and becomes a “third country” it will cease to be part of the fully-liberalised EU aviation market. The UK can’t fall back on old bilateral agreements it had with the US and other EU countries since these were superseded and are obsolete. Their restoration is extremely unlikely.
As a contingency, a number UK operators and businesses are expanding or setting-up new bases within the EU. This could work for them, but they’ll have to show that a majority of the ownership of their shares is in the EU.
Naturally, simple goodwill could sort much of this out at the last minute. However, goodwill will be in short supply if there is no successful conclusion of the Withdrawal Agreement. Even with this essential transition agreement the outcome is a standstill until the end of 2020.
The story the Brexiteers are telling in public is crazy. They say: If there is “no deal”, there will be no catastrophe. It’s all this so called: “project fear”. But if there is a catastrophe it’s not our fault, it’s everyone else’s fault. They are already allocating blame for an event that is avoidable.