UK prime minister Theresa May has floated the possibility of establishing associate membership with the European Aviation Safety Agency as part of the strategy to withdraw from the European Union.

May put forward the suggestion during a speech in London on 2 March, in which she rejected future EU partnership models such as those adopted by Norway or Canada.

But she stressed that the UK would want to pursue "frictionless" trade to minimise the possibility of damage to industrial supply chains.

"We will also want to explore with the EU the terms on which the UK could remain part of EU agencies, such as those that are critical for the chemicals, medicines and aerospace industries," she said, referring specifically to EASA.

"We would, of course, accept that this would mean abiding by rules of those agencies and making an appropriate financial contribution."

May stated that these various EU agencies had a "critical role" in setting and enforcing rules.

"If we were able to negotiate associate membership, we would be able to ensure we could continue to provide our technical expertise," she said.

Such a relationship, she added, would enable UK firms to resolve challenges relating to these agencies through UK courts rather than the European Court of Justice.

May highlighted the status of Switzerland, stating that its relationship with EASA meant Swiss aviation authorities had regulatory powers and that disputes could be settled through the Swiss legal system.

Source: Cirium Dashboard