It’s January. There’s no doubt that we have entered a new political era in the UK. It’s 13 days into the new decade. Although the basic issues haven’t changed much the manner of the debate about what might be possible has changed beyond recognition. Unlike in 2017, the UK General Election (GE) has given us a solidly “Leave” Parliament. Whatever most of the people in the Country may think or wish, the lawmakers we have are predominantly Eurosceptic.
The UK’s pro-European movements will keep fighting for their views to be represented in UK politics. There’s an important place for those who would have preferred to “Remain” in the European Union (EU), but their voice is diminished. Now future of relationships on trade, transport and security must be determined within the lifetime of this new UK Parliament. Given the size of the political majority, I assume it will last for 5-years.
Most experts with experience of Government negotiations know Brexit won’t be “done” in 2020. British businesses, including aviation will not be fully ready for next December. Any EU-UK deal agreed this year will probably be limited in scope. No one, outside a small group on Ministers, knows if that will include international aviation.
The European Commission (EC) Task Force for Relations with the UK has just published slides that show how they see the start of negotiations. These slides were provided for information purposes to the Council Working Party (Article 50) on 13 January. They show the huge gap between a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Single Market.
British MEPs are arriving at the Strasbourg Parliament for the last time. On the agenda this week are such subjects as an EU-China Agreement on aspects of air services. It does seem strange that the UK will no longer be part of the debate on such subjects post-Brexit. Surely there will be a continuing interest in such debates.
In the news is the fact that Europe’s biggest regional airline Flybe are fighting for survival less than a year after being bailed out by an industry consortium. Some deny that this is Brexit related. Others disagree: “Brexit and the way the government’s aviation taxes hit a regional airline like Flybe have been a double whammy,” says Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw. They fly from Exeter airport. The company, as a member of the European Regions Airline Association based in Surrey, no doubt supports the view that the aviation industry shouldn’t suffer the brunt of political inadequacies.
Note: 15/01/2020. Flybe has been saved from a potential collapse after the UK Government and company shareholders agreed to provide emergency funding.