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German industry’s solutions for Brexit in the transportation sector

The mobility, transport and logistics sector is of key importance in ensuring the free movement of persons and goods and the smooth functioning of the EU single market. While the actual implications of Brexit on the transportation sector remain uncertain, it is clear that the basic freedoms of the EU and the advantages of the single market for business and consumers need to be unconditionally upheld. The current level of connectivity must be retained.

The top priority for all modes of transport is to maintain legal certainty throughout the entire negotiation process and in the future relations between the EU (European Union) and the United Kingdom. A transition agreement will be necessary to guarantee the status quo on an interim basis. Full convergence with EU regulations (the aquis communautaire) and full acceptance of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice must be preconditions for any transition regulations. 

This approach would enable the continued membership and future participation of the United Kingdom in the EU agencies European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Union Agency for Railways (EURA). The future framework for relations between the United Kingdom and the EU must be as close as possible to the current framework in order to guarantee undisrupted rail and air transport in the future. Especially in aviation, the key challenge is whether and how the United Kingdom will be able to remain a part of the European Common Aviation Area, the ECAA. A new aviation agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom will need to strike the right balance regarding liberal and open market access, mutual recognition, dispute resolution mechanisms, the principle of reciprocity and a fair distribution of rights and obligations.

As for the aviation sector, it is also of decisive importance to the automotive industry to maintain legal certainty and to prevent regulatory divergence. For example, in order to sustainably safeguard supply chains for components, divergence and the resulting double certification and regulation between the EU and the United Kingdom need to be avoided. New mechanisms to ensure the mutual recognition of standards pertaining to homologation, type approval, safety, documents and vehicle dimensions will be required.

Legal certainty is also paramount to maritime transport both during and after the Brexit negotiations. A new maritime transport agreement will need to be negotiated to provide clarity regarding certain EU legal regulations and their consequences for common maritime transport. 

Another essential factor is to establish a level playing field in the transportation sector regarding EU emissions legislation. In addition, fair competition will require reciprocal market access rights to the relevant infrastructure. The interoperability of transport systems and operational regulations also need to be ensured. This will require reciprocal access to the occupations involved and recognition of occupational and transport documentation. Last but not least, the continuation of framework programmes such as Horizon 2020 needs to be ensured beyond Brexit.