The Commission, working with EU Member States, has identified a number of major partners with which the EU has a significant aviation interest. In all cases, negotiation at EU level seeks to deliver significant added value over bilateral agreements by securing a comprehensive regulatory framework for the operation of enhanced commercial opportunities that benefit the industry and its users (passengers and cargo-shippers) alike.
Groundbreaking agreements have already been concluded with the United States in 2007 and in June 2010 (the so-called "first" and "second stage" agreements).
An ambitious agreement was signed with Canada in 2009. It establishes a genuine open aviation area between the EU and Canada, and creates far-reaching possibilities for the reciprocal opening up in terms of investments. It also establishes a platform for close regulatory coordination on all the aspects of air transport policy.
Norway and Iceland acceded to the agreement in 2011.
In March 2011, a comprehensive aviation agreement was finalised with Brazil, but is currently subject to renegotiation. Negotiations are ongoing with a number of other major worldwide partners.
The agreements that the European Commission negotiates on behalf of the EU and its Member States do not limit themselves to the so-called "open skies" models entailing mere opening up of markets: the EU model also seeks the establishment of a process of liberalisation of ownership of airlines and a process of regulatory convergence in matters of safety and security, competition, environment, passengers protection, labour, etc. - which could not be obtained at national levels.
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