BREXIT: what is next for urban transport?
The outcomes of the discussion are very unclear, and the status of the UK in relation to the EU is to be defined. Also changes within the EU that this turmoil might cause are to be expected. Polis would like to outline the consequences in real terms when it comes to EU legislation and funding streams available in the future for UK members.
Firstly, the UK has transposed all EU Directives - for policy areas it has opted into – in its national legislation. This is current British national law. This article will cover EU law and directives (a), policies (b), financing programmes (c) and cooperation and best practice exchange (d)
a) EU Law and Directives (State Aid, Air Quality, 4th Rail Package etc.).
In principle, all EU adopted legislation for policy areas the UK has opted into, has been transposed into UK law. Which means that it should apply unless the UK decides to revise/modify/delete the national implementation law. Also, some texts are adopted at the UN level before getting implemented at the EU and then at national level. This means that unless the UK revise/modify existing law, it would still need to respect its international agreements. Couple of example in the transport sector:
- Safety/Security rules: most of the current rules derives from the UNECE Inland Transport Committee decisions. Voted first at the UN then transposed into EU legislation. This includes General Safety Regulation, cab design, etc.
- Fuels/infrastructure targets from Alternative Fuels Directive: these are EU commitments, not UN ones. Hence UK can bail out of these objectives.
- Air quality: before being implemented by the National Emission Ceiling and the Ambient Air Quality Directive, these targets are related to Gothenburg Protocol voted at the UN, so UK would still be bound to it unless ruling them out with a Chamber vote.
- Real-Driving Emission tests for car manufacturers: likewise, these tests have been implemented by the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures voted at the UN level, so UK manufacturing companies would still need to cope with it.
- Railway package: being out of the EU, the UK could define their own governance system between the infrastructure manager and the railway company (vertical integration, separation, etc.). This is also true at a local level governance (although the UK already obtained a special treatment in current 4th railway governance/Public Service Obligation discussions). In terms of Public Service Obligation, UK would fall under the “outside the EU scope”, so the external reciprocity clause might apply to UK.
- TEN-T corridors, with CEF as financial package: UK has accepted in the MFF to contribute to the CEF and voted the TEN-T regulation. Bailing out of the TEN-T would mean losing CEF investment unless stated otherwise in their “leaving deal” That is a political choice which will ultimately have an impact on whether UK urban nodes are still eligible (as a reminder, urban nodes under CEF are the following: London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Portsmouth and Sheffield). Ref TEN-T global map
b) Policy (SUMP’s, ITS, Rail, Bus)
- SUMP: they were always guidelines to begin with, so UK and cities/regions in UK are still free to apply the EU guidelines or not.
- ITS: this relates to ITS Directive implementation for which the UK could be out if they decide to (currently bound by EU vote on ITS Directive, but they could opt-out if they so desire). More importantly, it also relates to ITS standardization which is currently undertaken by CEN-CENELEC. CEN-CENELEC members are EU28 + EFTA (Iceland/Norway/Switzerland) + Turkey & Macedonia. These members are bound by CEN-CENELEC standards. Up to UK to decide once out of the EU.
- Rail: this refers back to already implemented legislation (3rd Railway package) and current specification of the 4th railway package for which the UK is bound to (as final negotiations for 4th railway were completed in May.
- Bus: same position than ITS, except safety & security part which would fall under UNECE regulation.
c) Financing: EIB and Financial Instruments, EFSI, CEF, ESIF, H2020
The legal reasoning is the following: UK being a member that has not only adopted but also partly financed the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020, it should be considered as eligible for any EU Programmes until 2020. This will however be in the heart of negotiations for the next Council meetings. Unless stated otherwise in a “leave” deal, UK should be out of MFF 2020/2026 for CEF, EIB Jessica, EFSI and Horizon 2020.
- EIB: UK would be eligible globally to EIB loans and advice. As a reminder, EIB is open to EU28, EFTA, Enlargement, Mediterranean neighbourhood, Eastern neighbourhood, Sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean and Pacific and South Africa countries. As a reminder, UK finances 16% of the EIB global budget. However, there would be some budget limitation as to how much UK could obtain. For example, the lending (=loans) from the EIB in 2014 amounted to 77 billion, out of which 69 were addressed to the EU, and only 8 billion outside the EU (2 billion for EFTA & enlargement countries).
- ELENA eligibility: EU28/EFTA members, so depends on UK strategic choice on being part of EEA. Elena official definition: Local and regional authorities or other public bodies or a grouping of such bodies from countries eligible under the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme. Currently, eligible countries are the EU member states, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Croatia and FYR Macedonia […] ELENA supports the Covenant of Mayors initiative of the European Commission, but it is not restricted to entities having signed it.
- JESSICA eligibility: any other EIB facility that aims at blending EIB finance with EU budget, which rules the UK out in principle. JESSICA is in actual fact ERDF blending offers by EIB.
- EFSI: only for EU-28 countries. But it will depends on whether UK keeps the money initially invested into the EFSI or not. Legal issue as to whether UK could still be in the EFSI while not being EU-28 anymore + uncertainty as to whether or not the EU could refuse to give UK their money back regarding the EFSI initial investment if they decide to opt-out from the EFSI. Other point of reference: under Chapter 3 article 8 of EFSI Regulation (page 17), the EU guarantee and EU guarantee fund could apply in UK if the project is linked with one EU Member State.
- CEF: same rule than under EFSI: in principle voted and granted before the UK decided to leave the EU, UK should still be eligible under the next calls until CEF available resources are depleted. It would no longer apply in the future unless stated otherwise in the “leave” deal. A split option, where grants would remain available for the UK, but strict TEN-T guidelines could be weakened could be the outcome of the negotiations.
- ESIF: same rule than CEF unless the “leave” states otherwise.
- H2020: if UK is part of European Research Area and/or EFTA/EEA or neighbourhood, H2020 applies, providing they cofinance part of general budget. Article 7 defines its access to a large numbers of countries, including EFTA members and countries falling under the European Neighborhood policy.(Reference article page 8-9)
d) Cooperation and knowledge sharing
That is still going to be the case but with national provision and maybe to some extent to international cooperation under UNECE/UN Habitat/Green Fund, etc. But overall, there will be a need for cities in UK to join International NGOs in order to reap such benefits.
Polis will closely monitor the situation and keep Polis members informed on this important issue.