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European Commission proposes to open the aviation market with Brazil

The European Commission has proposed to open negotiations on a comprehensive aviation agreement with Brazil, which is by far the largest air transport market in South America. According to an economic impact assessment study, an agreement with Brazil could generate up to €460 million in consumer benefits a year. The potential for traffic growth is estimated at 335,000 additional passengers in the first year.

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More: International Aviation             

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Transport of dangerous goods: Commission sends reasoned opinions to five Member States

The European Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to Finland, Greece, Ireland, Austria and the United Kingdom for failure to adopt national legislation on the inland transport of dangerous goods.

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More: Dangerous Goods             

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Rail transport: Commission warns Bulgaria over lack of implementation of the 'first rail package'  

The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria regarding its failure to properly implement the 'first railway package' legislation. Bulgaria will need to solve important issues relating to its system of railway track access charges.

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More: Market             

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Air transport: Commission requires Austria to ensure implementation of safety checks for aircraft using its airports  

The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Austria for failure to transpose EU rules on safety checks of aircraft using EU airports. The rules establish European safety standards covering aircraft inspections, possible measures for unsafe aircraft (including grounding) and standards for the training and qualification of inspectors. Austria has two months to comply with the request.

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More: Air Safety      

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Maritime safety: Commission sends a reasoned opinion to Malta on port state control  

The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to the Maltese authorities for failure to implement properly the EU directive on port state control. This Directive is a core instrument in the field of maritime safety, aimed at fighting substandard shipping in the European Union. Malta is required to comply with the request within two months, failing which the case may go before the European Court of Justice.  

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More: Ports      

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Emergency calls: Commission welcomes growing Member State endorsement for eCall in-car system 

The European Commission has welcomed five more Member States endorsing the eCall in-car emergency system. This life-saving system automatically dials Europe's single emergency number 112 in the event of a serious accident and could save up to 2500 lives per year in Europe when fully deployed. At a ceremony in Brussels on 4 May Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, Malta and Romania signed the EU's Memorandum of Understanding to implement eCall across Europe, joining 15 other European countries that had already signed.

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More: Road Safety      

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Commission launches a public consultation on the future of the Trans-European Transport Network  

The European Commission has adopted a working document setting out a planning methodology for a trans-European core transport network. It is based on the 2009 Green Paper on the future of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) policy and incorporates the outcomes of the corresponding public consultation and the work of six expert groups. Stakeholders, EU institutions and consultative bodies are now invited to comment on the document.

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More: Transport Infrastructure      

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Background

EU response to the ash cloud crisis

EU transport ministers have this week been able to agree on a single EU immediate response to the ash cloud crisis: this is a strong message given to the air transport sector. They supported the Commission's approach on the need for flexibility to ease the pressure on airlines: this is a clear signal to the sector which gives the necessary certainty. The key outcomes of the meeting are summarised below.

Air passenger rights regulation

  • It is of utmost importance to recall that the regulations on air passenger rights remain fully applicable.
  • Ministers have confirmed the commitment of all relevant national authorities to guarantee the full respect of these rights.
  • Experience shows that there is a need for further co-ordination to ensure their uniform application: the Commission will continue to monitor the situation and favour a harmonised application by the Member States.
  • This being said, we will draw the lessons of such a crisis in the framework of the review of the legislation scheduled for later this year.

State aid

  • The exceptional circumstances may also justify support measures to offset losses incurred by the closure of the EU airspace.
  • Member States have agreed that such measures should preserve as much as possible a level-playing field and avoid undue distortions of competition.
  • The Commission has made clear that it could examine favourably such measures. If needed, the Commission could present a communication establishing clear and precise guidelines.

Revision of risk management planning for any future disruption caused by volcanic activity

  • Member States have welcomed the Commission proposal to take immediate action to create an expert group of all stakeholders (including Eurocontrol, EASA, the Member States) in order to develop a new European methodology for safety risks and risk management.
  • On this basis, they have also supported the aim for the EU to submit a proposal for a new regulatory framework to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) General Assembly in September 2010.

Fast-track the Single European Sky package

  • The acceleration of Single European Sky has been given the highest political priority.
  • The ministers have agreed on seven concrete actions to be taken in the coming weeks: this is crucial for unifying our sky and have the most appropriate tools to manage our airspace in a fully coordinated manner.
  • In particular, the nomination of the network manager, the acceleration of the development of the functional airspace blocks, and the implementation of the performance scheme are key to our success and will help to avoid such crises in the future.

A mobility plan for Europe

  • Ministers have acknowledged that we need to address pan-European crisis planning for transport in case of major disruptions.
  • Efforts should be dedicated to ensure that, if one mode of transport can not deliver, other transport modes can quickly substitute in the interest of passengers.
  • Member States have welcomed the Commission’s intention to start working to identify the main obstacles and determine the solutions in case of a sudden crisis.

Bring all actors together

  • Ministers considered positively the intention to create an Aviation Platform at EU level.
  • The Aviation Platform can be the appropriate tool to co-ordinate aviation policy better, to assess the actions needed, and to reflect on the future of air transport in the EU.

 

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