Calls For Stronger Coordination, Unity And Solidarity At EU Level
European Union (EU) transport ministers have adopted a comprehensive set of Council conclusions which will lay down the framework for an ambitious EU external aviation policy for the coming years.
Based on the European Commission's recent Communication "The EU's external aviation policy – addressing future challenges", the Council on Thursday called for stronger coordination, unity and solidarity at EU level and for a more robust EU external aviation policy in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the European aviation industry while supporting the interests of European consumers.
Global aviation is changing dramatically and Europe has been harder hit by the recession than many other regions. The actions proposed by the Commission and endorsed by the Council will help boost the international competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry by opening negotiations with key partners to access new business opportunities in fast growing markets, developing new tools to fight unfair competition and creating the right regulatory conditions to stimulate investment.
In its conclusions, the Council in particular:
Considers that a tailored EU approach is now appropriate in relation to a number of key partners;
Encourages the Commission to reach comprehensive EU-level agreements with all neighbouring countries by 2015;
Welcomes the Commission's intention to request an authorisation to open negotiations on comprehensive EU air transport agreements with Turkey and India;
Welcomes the Commission's intention to prepare a comprehensive roadmap for enhancing EU-Russia aviation relations once Russia respects its international commitments towards the EU in aviation to phase out royalties for overflying Siberia. An objective of the comprehensive roadmap would be a comprehensive EU-Russia air transport agreement;
Acknowledges the Commission's intention to engage in a dialogue with Gulf countries with a view to enhancing transparency and fair competition;
Supports the Commission's intention to present a proposal for a revision or replacement of Regulation 868/2004 concerning protection against subsidisation and unfair practices with the aim of developing a more effective instrument to safeguard open and fair competition. In the same spirit, the Council welcomes the Commission's intention to develop a template for a "fair competition clause" for inclusion in air services agreements with partner countries;
Invites ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, to play a leading role in modernising the existing economic regulatory framework governing the global aviation market including in relation to liberalising market access and airline ownership and control while safeguarding fair competition.
Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner responsible for transport, said: "Aviation plays a crucial and strategic role in the European economy both in terms of jobs, growth and connectivity. The new framework that the Council adopted today represents a major step forward towards a fully coordinated EU external aviation policy. The Commission, EU Member States and industry have to work together in an increasingly concerted manner to meet the serious challenges facing the EU aviation sector in the global market place. An effective and early implementation of the new EU external aviation policy will make a significant contribution to enhancing the competitiveness of the EU aviation industry and to the recovery of the European economy."