THE LOTUS WEEKLY BREXIT ROUND-UP
Peaks period continues to perform well
Industry figures last week suggest that trading so far in 2020 appears up on 2019.
Ian Taylor of Travel Weekly said: “Short of war, the UK industry seems set to continue along the path to recovery from the endless period of uncertainty over Brexit and the fall-out from Thomas Cook’s failure last autumn.”
Diane Coleman of Tickets Travel in Bexley, Kent, agreed. “It’s better than last year – there is more interest even though Brexit is imminent.”
All-inclusive holiday searches ‘soaring in peaks’
Travel Weekly has reported that the number of families searching for all-inclusive holidays has risen by more than a quarter amid concerns over post-Brexit vote currency fluctuation.
An increase of 28% by families and a year-on-year rise of 13% for couples searching all-in holiday options in the peaks has been reported by TravelSupermarket based on pricing research.
Top travel risks in 2020
Riskline, the travel risk intelligence company has highlighted Brexit as being in the top ten travel risks for 2020 behind the impact of climate change and potential final year of the Trump administration.
Other issues include internet outages, anti-systemic protests and water shortages.
The Times argues, that despite fireworks and commemorative coins, the UK has nearly another year to go before Britain leaves the European Union.
“Britain's real departure from the EU will only take place on December 31 at the end of the transition period — and as yet we have no idea what kind of relationship with the EU will follow.
“Over the following eleven months the government will have to negotiate and agree a new relationship with our biggest trading partner covering everything from fishing to tariffs, services and regulation.
“Some experts believe the timetable is unrealistic, but Boris Johnson in particular insists that it can be done and has ruled out any extension.”
TransportIn its roundup of sector negotiations, The Times said that negotiations on aviation and road haulage are expected to be conducted separately from trade talks and could continue into 2021 after temporary mini-deals to keep aircraft flying and lorries moving.
Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement cleared its final hurdle in the House of Commons on Thursday after MPs voted to give a Third Reading to the European Union Withdrawal Agreement Bill by a majority of 99.
The bill will now move onto the House of Lords next week.
Brussels’ chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has claimed that Britain’s goal to have a full free trade deal by the end of the year is ‘unrealistic’. He also said: “We cannot expect to agree on every aspect of this new partnership. We are ready to do our best in the next 11 months”.
The new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was aligned to Barnier when she visited London on Wednesday.
Speaking in the morning at the LSE, she said that January 31st will be a "tough and emotional day". She also said: "Without an extension of the transition period beyond 2020, you cannot expect to agree on every single aspect of our new partnership."
She also claimed: “that you cannot have free movement of goods and capital without the free movement of people.”
She said that, throughout the negotiations, the EU would be committed to upholding the integrity of the single market and the customs union.
As reported on Brexit Central, Prime Minister Johnson said at the meeting with von der Leyen “we want a broad free trade agreement covering goods and services, and cooperation in other areas.”
The PM was clear that the UK would not extend the Implementation Period beyond 31st December 2020; and that any future partnership must not involve any kind of alignment or ECJ jurisdiction. He said the UK would also maintain control of UK fishing waters and our immigration system. The PM made clear that we would continue to ensure high standards in the UK in areas like workers’ rights, animal welfare, agriculture and the environment.
Northern Ireland Assembly
The Northern Ireland Assembly was reconvened after three years last week and reappointed Arlene Foster as First Minister after a compromise deal ended the years of deadlock, with Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill named Deputy First Minister.
Students face losing EU exchange courses if Erasmus scheme ends
The Times has reported that British students could lose their right to subsidised years at European universities after Brexit. Officials in the Treasury and the Department for Education have suggested that Britain’s participation in the Erasmus+ exchange scheme could end this year. At present the £1 billion cost of subsidising British students studying for a year of their course in EU universities is paid for by the European Commission. At the end of the Brexit transition period Britain will have to pay if it still wants to participate in the €16 billion programme.
The Times quoted a Whitehall source: “The question being asked is whether you want to spend a billion pounds on this or put it into the schools’ budget. Clearly it will depend on the negotiations with the EU but the feeling is that it is expensive and not a priority for the government.”