February 18, 2019
The European Union has set out its strategy to ensure “basic air and road connectivity” in the event of the United Kingdom leaving without a deal.
As March 29, the scheduled date for Brexit, looms closer, the EU has released plans to make sure that “basic connectivity” between Europe and Britain is maintained.
EU Member States’ ambassadors in the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee approved a mandate for the Romanian presidency to negotiate with the European Parliament on a proposal which enables UK-licenced carriers to provide basic air transport services between the UK and the remaining 27 member states. These rights will be conditional on equivalent rights being conferred by the UK and subject to conditions ensuring fair competition.
A special provision ensures the right to continue to provide scheduled flights under public service obligations until 26 October 2019, in order to ensure continuity of the public services while national authorities make the necessary adaptations to the new situation.
Limited code-sharing and aircraft leasing arrangements, including wet lease, will be allowed under certain conditions.
If, as a result of Brexit, an air carrier holding an operating licence issued by an EU member state ceases to comply with EU ownership and control requirements, it will have until 26 October 2019 to fully meet all those requirements. To be able to benefit from this exception, air carriers will have two weeks from the entry into force of the regulation to submit a precise and complete plan presenting the measures intended to achieve full compliance with the ownership and control requirements as from 27 October 2019 at the latest.
The regulation would apply until an air transport agreement with the UK enters into force or 30 March 2020, whichever is the sooner.
Ambassadors also approved a mandate for the Romanian presidency to negotiate with the European Parliament on enabling UK-licenced road hauliers and coach and bus operators to carry goods and passengers between the UK and the remaining 27 member states. The rights granted by these measures will be conditional on equivalent rights being conferred by the UK to operators from the 27 member states and subject to conditions ensuring fair competition. The temporary measures are without prejudice to any future negotiations with the UK. The regulation will cease to apply on 31 December 2019.
The first meeting with the Parliament to agree on the final text will take place on 19 February.
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