Vice-President Siim Kallas website

European Commission Mobility and Transport website

Majority of Europeans embrace green travel

Most Europeans are willing to compromise on the price and the features of their car in order to reduce harmful emissions, a new survey has revealed. A Eurobarometer survey conducted in all 27 European Union Member States showed that, for instance, about two-thirds of EU car users said it was likely they would compromise on a car's speed in order to reduce emissions. In addition, the majority of motorists (53%) agreed with existing car charges being replaced by new charging schemes based on the actual use of their vehicle. While most users choose to drive a car because of its convenience, nearly three quarters of EU citizens (71%) said they would consider using public transport more frequently if it would be possible to buy a single ticket covering all transport modes.

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VP Kallas welcomes European Railway Agency opinion to pave the way for more competition for Passenger Trains in the Channel Tunnel

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Commenting on the opinion of European Railway Agency issued today on Safety Requirements for Passenger trains in the Channel Tunnel, European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas said: "This is a significant opinion from the European Railway Agency, which should pave the way for more competition in the Channel Tunnel, without any reduction in safety standards."

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EU and Cape Verde sign a "horizontal" agreement on certain aspects of air services

An aviation agreement has been signed by the European Union and the Cape Verde authorities to allow any EU airline to operate flights between any EU Member State and Cape Verde, where a bilateral agreement exists and traffic rights are available.

This agreement will bring the existing bilateral aviation agreements between eight Member States and Cape Verde into line with European law.

Most importantly, it will remove restrictions on the nationality of the airline. This means that any EU airline will be able to operate flights between Cape Verde and a Member State that already has a bilateral agreement with Cape Verde, provided that traffic rights are available.

Previously, bilateral agreement between the eight Member States and Cape Verde restricted the number of airlines on the routes.

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Breakthrough in EU-Brazil negotiations on far-reaching aviation agreement

Vice-President Siim Kallas announced a breakthrough in the EU-Brazil negotiations on an ambitious aviation agreement. Negotiators from the EU and Brazil have initialled a comprehensive agreement on air transport services. This is a significant development in the context of the Strategic Partnership between the EU and Brazil launched in 2007. Brazil is by far the largest air transport market in South America with annually around 4.5 million passengers carried on flights between the EU and Brazil. Brazil is also among the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. In 2010, the Brazilian air transport market grew by 23% compared to 2009. The new agreement will be a major step in the opening of markets. It creates new investment opportunities and improves the commercial and operational environment for EU carriers operating into Brazil.

Vice-President Siim Kallas said: "What we have reached with Brazil today is an agreement that will open up the air traffic market between the EU and Brazil. This will generate significant economic benefits for businesses, travellers, the aviation industry and the wider EU and Brazilian economies. I am also very pleased with the strong provisions included in the agreement that will make it easier for our carriers to operate in Brazil. This is particularly important in view of the very important world sports events that Brazil will be hosting in the coming years."

The key points of the agreement:

  • All EU airlines will be able to freely operate direct flights to anywhere in Brazil from anywhere in Europe as the agreement will remove all restrictions on routes, prices, and the number of weekly flights between Brazil and the EU.
  • New business opportunities will be created for European cargo operators flying to Brazil and beyond.
  • Improved flexibility by reducing administrative burdens on airlines makes it easier to do business in Brazil - to the benefit and convenience of passengers.
  • Both sides have agreed to closely cooperate in a wide range of areas including safety, security, application of competition law, air traffic management, environment, consumer protection and social and labour issues. This will ensure a level playing field for fair competition between EU and Brazilian airlines.
  • The agreement builds on the success of the European internal aviation market. It is an important step towards the normalisation of the international aviation industry as it gradually removes outdated restrictions on prices, traffic rights and facilitates the cooperation between the authorities, including in international bodies.

The new EU-Brazil agreement comes at a strategic moment considering that Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

According to an economic impact assessment study, full market opening 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.

The EU has already comprehensive air transport agreements in effect with the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Morocco, the Western Balkan countries, Georgia and Jordan.

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