Is EASA impacted by Brexit?
ANDY PASZTOR, the Wall Street Journal’s aviation writer, is a highly respected analyst of the aeropolitical ebb and flow around the globe. From that post he has reviewed the potential impact of Brexit upon EASA and its plan to assume greater authority (beyond mere standard-setting and into enforcement/certification/all forms of regulation) . He concludes:
“Changes proposed months before June’s referendum in which British voters opted to leave the EU would update and modestly enhance the European Aviation Safety Agency’s oversight role. The agency stands to gain additional powers to police small unmanned aircraft and regulate a few other air-safety functions now typically handled primarily by national authorities….
Through a spokesman on Thursday, Mr. Ky said work on the changes ‘continues as planned.’ Brexit negotiations ‘will be held at a political level,’ he said, adding that ‘at our technical level, the revision to EASA regulation is on track and scheduled to be adopted by the EU early next year.’”
No one is saying that the sky is falling, but it is naive to believe that all of the Member Countries, in particular the CAAs as well as the certificates which they regulate, were unanimously enthused about the increase in the powers in Cologne and the diminution of the local powers. Here is some relevant commentary:
The US’ AIA published (endorsed?) a pro-RemaIN blog written by Richard Gale from the UK’s Aerospace & Defence Trade Association, ADS Group. A consultant reviewed the pro’s and con’s and concluded:
“The Bottom Line
The Brexit panic the markets and the media is overdone. Yes, a change in EU membership has occurred. But Britain retained its own currency and was only half-in anyway. Bilateral treaties with be formed and life will go on. The only ones really impacted are the politicians in Brussels, whose empire is going to shrink after a reality check by the British citizens who said enough is enough. Aviation will be just fine, thank you”
This last comment in the expert opinion is echoed by one of the UK’s small aviation manufacturers, Britten-Norman, which was clearly fed up with the “special status” which his company did not experience with the folks in Brussels and Cologne. The 60 year old company employs 170 aeronautical workers indicated their displeasure by flying a ‘Brexit’ Banner” behind one of its signature aircraft.”
EASA is but one of the many EC regulatory bodies which establish standards and implement the rules for a number of sectors (food medicines, chemicals, education, quality of our working lives & environment, justice, transport safety, security, fundamental rights, knowledge and any number of arenas). BREXIT was a vote, in part, responding to this Pan European authority’s increased assumption of authority and the reduction of the individual sovereigns’ powers.
Perhaps Mr. Pasztor’s analysis is correct, but it is possible that the accretion of power in Cologne may not be entirely acceptable to all of the Member States. It would appear to be politically wise to slow down EASA’s plan and see whether BREXIT is a phenomenon limited to one country.
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