There’s a sense of exhaustion with the Brexit process. So much as been on and off over such a long time that it’s difficult to know what’s real and what’s pure speculation. The “No-Deal” Brexit outcome has gone from “inconceivable” to “unlikely”. Those who want to see such an outcome are in a tiny minority, but they do make a lot of noise. All sorts of means are being used to try to influence the position taken by the UK Government. When it comes to the Government’s published technical notices, I remined of this quote: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw. There’s a lot of discussion about many issues but few solid reliable facts on which to base future actions. That said, Minister’s statements continue to repeat that one of the Government’s priorities to secure an agreement on aviation and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
In preparing the aviation and aerospace communities the UK industry body ADS has launched an on-line site as a “Brexit Hub”. This is a useful development as the UK and EU 27 continue to negotiate our long-term relationship.
Volatile noises left and right, up and down tend to dominate the British news. This weekend there’s some moderation and talk of “mutual recognition” being a possible outcome of the on-going UK-EU negotiations. One theory is that the “No-Deal” outcome is so unpalatable to both sides of the table that compromises are now sought.
Inside the EU, the internal market comprises an area without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of goods is ensured. That includes aeronautical products that meet the appropriate standards. A form of mutual recognition maybe a way of providing market access for products that are going and comming from a “third country”.
Naturally, this is not as simple as it sounds. It does mean two separate regulatory systems need to be kept in lock-step. Each notifying the other of any major changes that are planned. However, the start point for both UK and EU is a good one in that technical harmonisation already exists. Also, now in aviation, there doesn’t seem to be any great wish to diverge from current harmonised rules.
Another positive is that many aviation technical standards are international and are arrived at by consensus processes, engaging several competent authorities. Therefore, a form of mutual recognition doesn’t need to involve absorbing large technical differences and different ways of doing business. All of this would need to be written into a detailed agreement or working arrangement and that’s a big job for someone.
Problematic at this moment is the willingness of polticians to add a new barrier every day the negotiations continue. This brinkmanship has to come to an end. The consequences of a “No-Deal” Brexit, if it were to take place on 29th March 2019 are so horrendous that no one would want be responsibility for it. Let’s hope that both the UK and EU work to secure a deal that delivers during and beyond Brexit, if it happens.