A view from Brussels: Red sky in the morning…

I’m in the Brussels this morning, but not for the PM’s renegotiations. I’m here for the External Affairs Committee of ASD, our pan-European trade association.

On the agenda today we are looking at the implications for our members of the following issues:

  • The mid-term review on Horizon 2020 R&D funding. UK Aerospace, Security and Space companies get £100mn a year from this seven-year fund;
  • Easing the burdens of REACH regulations on our members. In or out, all companies selling into the EU have to comply. Being in gives us say over how REACH is implemented;
  • Planning to brief the European Parliament on ‘Innovation for Sustainable Aviation’. The Parliament is influential and many of the Parliamentarians (including several from the UK) are interested in understanding the issues and priorities for the sector.

The UK’s Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors have significant influence in shaping what the European Union does. To maximise that influence, we do work with colleagues in other countries, and though its not always smooth, we are able to work together to promote a common agenda.

Leaving the EU means losing the thousands of ways – some big, some small – that the UK does influence and shape how the EU spends money and the regulations it creates.

For example, the UK’s push for deregulation in Brussels has led the number of new EU regulations to drop from over 300 a year to around 25 a year. We can have impact.

The EU’s R&D funding will be spent. Do we want shape the rules so that more of it to flows to UK SMEs and their UK customers or leave and let our competitors in other EU countries get our share?

In or out we have to comply with regulations. Why not stay in and ensure we get better regulations that benefit UK businesses? It’s already happening, why should stop and disadvantage our own companies?

For the UK’s Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors, the issue is clear: their businesses benefit from the UK’s membership of the EU and they want the UK to engage more to get more from our membership.

The UK’s Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors benefit from EU membershipKPMG Summary

Source: KPMG & ADS/GfK Industry Intelligence survey 2015


Postscript: The main picture on this post was taken this morning in Brussels and reminded me of that old saying: “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight; Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning”. I have no idea what that means for the PM’s negotiations!