5 weeks and a few days to the end date that was put into legislation for the UK to leave the European Union (EU). Both Saint David’s and Saint Patrick’s Day fall before the scheduled exit day. There’s still a small chance that the departure could be called off but, just now, the bookmakers are increasing the odds in favour of a tragic “No Deal” outcome to Brexit.
In every respect negotiation between the 27 EU Member States have gone well. What’s not going well is when they sit across the table facing the UK. It’s not at all clear what the UK Government’s policy is this week. Voices off from Ministers point in several directions at the same time. On Tuesday, the UK’s Business Secretary told manufacturing leaders that leaving the EU without an agreement would be a “disaster” for the UK and said he recognised the need for clarity “as soon as possible”. Vagueness at such a late hour doesn’t look good from any direction.
Maintaining a position as a world player in the aerospace industry requires substantial investments in research. During its membership, the UK has been a prominent beneficiary of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. Now, the EU is planning its biggest research and innovation funding programme ever, with a budget of €97.6 billion. This will be called Horizon Europe. It will run from 2021-2027.
Trying to match the efforts of the UK’s neighbours might be the ambition of some UK politicians but their current performance doesn’t offer much hope. Funds will no doubt be tight after any post-Brexit downturn.
The aviation ties between neighbours are the most important. Over 75% of all UK holidaymakers and 66% of business travellers go to the EU each year. 63% of all tourists and 73% of all business travellers visiting the UK come from EU Member States. Putting barriers in the way of this movement of people just makes both communities poorer.