UK prime minister Theresa May says the final structure of the country’s relationship with the European Aviation Safety Agency is still to be negotiated, but that it would still press for membership.
May had previously suggested, in a speech in March, that the UK could pursue associate membership of the agency following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
But a parliamentary cross-party liaison committee questioned May on 29 November over the absence of a reference to EASA membership in the provisional withdrawal agreement.
“It continues to be our intention to argue for the closest possible relationship with EASA. Now that would be membership of EASA,” said May.
She told the committee that the “precise nature and legal form” of the UK’s co-operation and relationship with EASA would be “negotiated when the legal text is put together in the next stage of negotiation”.
May stressed that there was an obvious need to co-operate closely over aviation safety and security standards.
“The question is exactly what the legal arrangement will be,” she said.
“We can either look at this in terms of maintaining the exact structures that exist today or maintaining the capabilities that exist today.
“And sometimes it’s possible to maintain capabilities but in a different way from the exact structures that exist today.”