Vice-President Siim Kallas website

European Commission Mobility and Transport website

New Aviation Platform to address challenges for the European aviation sector

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for of transport, met top-level representatives of the European aviation sector to discuss future challenges for aviation in Europe at the first-ever meeting of the Aviation Platform. The Aviation Platform has been set up to give strategic advice to the Vice President in order to establish the basis for a sustainable future for air transport and a competitive future for the European aviation industry.

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New European legislation to boost rail freight

Rail freight in Europe will be given a boost thanks to new European Union rules designed to foster the development of a high-quality rail infrastructure management at international level. The new legislation, published in the Official Journal, makes it mandatory to create a European rail network for competitive freight based on international freight corridors. This will help to reinforce cooperation between infrastructure managers and make rail freight services become more competitive and attractive.

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Commission welcomes the breakthrough in the east tube of the Gotthard base tunnel and congratulates Switzerland

Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, commented: "Switzerland deserves praise for making an outstanding effort to deliver its share on time. When completed, the Gotthard base tunnel will form part of a larger trans-Alpine rail system, which currently includes the Lötschberg base tunnel and, later, will be completed by the Brenner and the Mont Cenis base tunnels.".

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Road charging: Heavy lorries to pay for costs of air and noise pollution

EU Ministers have voted in favour of new EU rules to allow Member States to charge heavy lorries, not only for the costs of the infrastructure which is currently the case, but also to levy an additional charge to cover the cost of air and noise pollution. The proposal to revise the current "Eurovignette Directive" will enable Member States to better manage problems of congestion, with a new flexibility to differentiate the charges applied to heavy lorries at different periods of the day.

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EU to negotiate an ambitious air transport agreement with Brazil

The European Commission has been granted a mandate by European Union transport ministers to open negotiations on an ambitious air transport agreement with Brazil. Brazil is by far the largest air transport market in South America with more than four million passengers carried in 2009 on flights between the EU and Brazil. An EU-wide air transport agreement with Brazil is expected to generate significant economic benefits to businesses, travellers and the EU and Brazilian aviation industries and wider economies.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport said: "I am very pleased with the unanimous support from Member States to grant us a negotiating mandate for Brazil. Brazil is a strategically important and fast-growing market. An EU-wide agreement with Brazil will no doubt increase the number of flights and the range of services at the most competitive prices between Brazil and the EU. This will create significant new opportunities for our industry as well as benefits for the travelling public."

Negotiations will aim at opening market access for airlines and achieving a high level of regulatory convergence in areas such as security, environmental aspects or consumer protection. According to an economic impact assessment study, an agreement with Brazil could generate up to €460 million consumer benefits a year. The potential for traffic growth is estimated at 335,000 additional passengers in the first year.

The timing of the negotiating mandate is excellent when considering that Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. An EU-Brazil air transport agreement will gradually open the market while strengthening regulatory cooperation in key areas such as safety, security, environment and competition.

In recent years, Brazil has developed an excellent cooperation with the EU in the field of aviation. On 14 July 2010, an agreement was signed between Brazil and the EU that ensures non-discriminatory treatment for all EU airlines. An aviation safety agreement was also signed which will strengthen technical cooperation in all areas of aviation safety. On 25 and 26 May this year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hosted the first-ever EU-Latin America Civil Aviation Summit which brought together aviation leaders from Europe and Latin America.

Negotiations with Brazil are going to start in the coming weeks.

The EU has already comprehensive air transport agreements in effect with the United States, Canada, Morocco and the Western Balkan countries. Today, the EU Transport Council authorised the signature of the recently negotiated air transport agreements with Jordan and Georgia respectively. For more information:


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