UK-EU flights could halt post-Brexit without deal, warn British
Bus and coach services could also cease and road hauliers be banned if no deal agreed
Former Labour MP Gisela Stuart (second, left), former Brexit secretary David Davis, Jacob Rees-Mogg and former secretary of state for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers, on Monday. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Flights between Britain and the European Union could be halted immediately after Brexit if the country leaves without a deal next March, the British government warned on Monday. Bus and coach services could also be suspended and British road hauliers could be banned from the EU, according to the latest batch of technical notices on the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
“If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place, UK and EU licensed airlines would lose the automatic right to operate air services between the UK and the EU without seeking advance permission,” the government said.
Britain would unilaterally grant European airlines permission to land at British airports and it hopes the EU would reciprocate as part of a “bare-bones” aviation agreement.
“It would not be in the interest of any EU country or the UK to restrict the choice of destinations that could be served, though if such permissions are not granted, there could be disruption to some flights,” the technical notice says.
Recognition of licences
British road hauliers could no longer rely on automatic recognition of their licences and could be banned from operating in the EU. British bus and coach operators could face similar problems and motorists would need to carry an international certificate of insurance, known as a green card, as proof of cover when driving in the EU.
The notices were published as Theresa May’s cabinet met for the first time since last week’s Salzburg summit, when she claimed she was treated with a lack of respect by EU leaders. The prime minister’s official spokesman said ministers remained committed to her Chequers proposals despite the EU leaders’ rejection of them.
“The cabinet gave its full support to the White Paper and that continues to be the case,” the spokesman said.
The prime minister told cabinet that her Chequers deal was the only plan on the table that would achieve frictionless trade with the EU. She said it was always clear there would come a critical point in these negotiations and now was the time for the government to hold its nerve. She said there was no future relationship that will prevent a hard border in Ireland, maintain the constitutional integrity of the UK and respect the referendum result that does not include frictionless trade.
Government sources in Dublin are increasingly pessimistic about the fate of the Chequers proposal in the wake of the Salzburg summit, both because of its brusque dismissal from some European leaders, and the fierce reaction among Tory Brexiteers.
Chequers keeps us locked in an EU legislative system and this sets us free to prosper and do free-trade deals
A new legal text on the backstop from the UK is expected soon, though there is little expectation that it will be formally tabled until after the Conservative Party conference next week.
Sources said the assessment of that text by the EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in consultation with the Irish Government, would be crucial in deciding whether Mr Barnier recommended to EU leaders that there was a chance of reaching a deal.
Leading Conservative Brexiteers – including David Davis, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg – on Monday endorsed an alternative plan to Chequers published by the right-wing Institute for Economic Affairs. It proposes a basic free-trade agreement for goods without regulatory alignment and with a fully independent trade policy.
“Chequers keeps us locked in an EU legislative system and this sets us free to prosper and do free-trade deals around the world,” Mr Johnson said.
The plan would deal with the Border through trusted trader schemes and technical solutions, although it accepts there should be animal-health checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Speaking in New York, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar declined to be drawn on whether he would back a second referendum in Britain.
“That’s not really a decision for us in Ireland. The United Kingdom had a referendum. They made their decision. We respect it. If they decide to have a second referendum that’s entirely up to them.”