STUDY PRESENTATION: 3 DECEMBER 2018, 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm
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On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom submitted the notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This means that, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date, all EU primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK from 30 March 2019. The UK will then become a ‘third country’. Although the EU-UK negotiations have yielded an agreement between the two parties in November this year, the decision of the British Parliament on whether to approve or reject this deal remains a concern. In these circumstances, a ‘no-deal scenario’ is one that must be considered, even if hypothetically, as its consequences might be critical for efficient provision of transport, tourism and postal services between the EU and the UK.

A presentation of the study “BREXIT, transport and tourism: consequences of a no-deal scenario” was organised by the EP’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies on 3 December 2018 in the context of a meeting of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN). The presentation focused on the following points:

    • A description of economic relations between the UK and the EU;
    • Investigation of the socio–economic impact of a no-deal Brexit on both the EU and the UK;
    • Analysis of legal and trade regulations in the areas of transport, tourism and postal services, which might be affected by the no-deal scenario;
    • Exploration of the consequences of a no-deal scenario for transport, tourism and postal services;
    • Conclusions and recommended actions.

The experts stressed that the EU-27 was the main trading partner of the UK and played an important role in relation to the UK’s trade with third countries. They also highlighted that maritime transport played a dominant role in the exchanges between the EU and the UK in the case of freight, while air transport was the most commonly used mode by both parties in the passenger segment. Moreover, the presenters pointed out that the majority of the trips carried out by UK residents had an EU Member State (MS) as their destination and the majority of tourists visiting the UK were from the EU.

The experts explained that a no-deal Brexit would imply losses for the two parties involved, although within the EU-27, the intensity of the impact would vary among MS. As for the specific sectors deemed to be the most affected in such a scenario, the experts drew attention to air transport, where there are no contingency rules to rely on in case of a no-deal Brexit (such as those of the World Trade Organization applicable in other sectors analysed). In practice, a no-deal scenario in air transport would mean, amongst other things: no traffic rights for UK airlines in the EU-27, no access to the Single European Sky and the application of renewed ownership and control rules that would include third country restrictions.

In the view of the experts, in order to ensure the best protection for the EU against the negative consequences of a no-deal scenario in all sectors, it would be necessary, for example, to pursue agreements between (first) the EU and (should this not be feasible) the MSs, on the one side, and the UK on the other.

The debate that followed the expert’s presentation revolved around the possible future cooperation between the EU-27 and the UK in the fields of transport, tourism and postal services. In particular, the Members of the TRAN Committee were interested in alternatives to the no-deal scenario pointing out that this outcome should be avoided at all cost. In detailed questions they inquired, among others, on:

  • The possible advantages that the UK could gain at the detriment of the EU-27 in a no-deal scenario;
  • The impact assessments concerning the UK’s unfair benefits in the area of air transport emissions and passenger rights, as well as
  • The specific EU-27 regions expected to be hit the hardest by a no deal Brexit.

Link to watch video of the event (with multilingual interpretation) – Study presentation starts at 17:03:58

Further reading: Research for TRAN Committee : BREXIT: transport and tourism – the consequences of a no-deal scenario


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