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Commission's action for a better air safety management system in Europe

The European Commission has published a paper on how to achieve a better system of aviation safety management for Europe. The aim is to make the EU the safest region in the world to fly. The paper argues that the traditional means of ensuring safety by adhering to regulations and by learning lessons from incidents and accidents has reached its limits. Further substantial improvements in the safety record are unlikely by this route. Whilst this system has been successful in the past in making aviation the safest transport mode, it is time to add a pro-active element in order to cope with the increasing complexity and continued growth of the aviation industry, and in particular to do more to anticipate events by examining safety data to identify more clearly the risks, and to enable action to be taken in advance to prevent accidents.

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Republic of Moldova to gradually integrate into the European common aviation market

The Republic of Moldova and the European Union initialled on 26 October a comprehensive air services agreement at a meeting in Chisinau, the capital of the Republic of Moldova. This agreement will open up and integrate the respective markets, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for consumers and airlines. The Republic of Moldova and the EU will develop this "common aviation area" based on common rules in important areas such as aviation safety and security.

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EU and Sri Lanka ink deal to boost air transport

The European Commission and Sri Lanka initialled on 27 October in Colombo an aviation agreement which will restore a sound legal basis for developing future aviation relations between Sri Lanka and EU Member States.

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Commission requests Portugal to comply with rules on the charging of heavy goods vehicles

The European Commission has requested Portugal to take the necessary measures to comply with the directive on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructure. This request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under European Union infringement procedures. If Portugal fails to inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure compliance with EU law, the Commission could refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.

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Aviation: the Commission addresses a reasoned opinion to Belgium

The European Commission adopted on 27 October a reasoned opinion against Belgium which has not yet notified the unit rates of its airports' terminal charges for 2010 and 2011. Pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1794/2006, this notification is required for airports with over 50,000 commercial operations per year.

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Commission requests Hungary to adopt measures on driving licences

The European Commission asked Hungary on 27 October to adopt national legislation on driving licences in accordance with its obligations under European Union law. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If Hungary fails to inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure full compliance with the directive in this respect, the Commission could refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.

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Commission welcomes Sweden's decision on port security

The Commission welcomes Sweden's decision to anticipate the revision of the evaluation on port security and to carry out from now on a port security plan covering the entire port infrastructure of Malmö. The Commission had invited Sweden to correctly apply the Directive on enhancing port security and in particular to carry out assessments and implement port security plans in ports of Malmö which require security plans. The Commission has decided to close the infringement procedure against Sweden who on the one hand, notified the Commission of its complete and updated list of the ports implementing the Directive, and on the other corrected the situation in Malmö

[Press release in French]

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Workshop on public transport by rail and by road

The European Commission will organise an international workshop on the implementation of Regulation (EC) N° 1370/2007 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road in Brussels on 14 November 2011. Since its entry into force on 3 December 2009, the Regulation has raised various questions as to its implementation. Therefore, the  Commission commissioned a study to: obtain an overview of the current state of play concerning the implementation of the regulatory framework and the main developments in terms of contractual practice in the public transport sector, assess the current state of play and make recommendations on the best practice choices related to the application of Regulation 1370/2007. Based on the results of this study, the workshop will give the opportunity to stakeholders to exchange their views on possible problems related to the application of certain provisions and on best practices in implementing the Regulation. To register, please complete the registration form that you find at our website and send it to psostudy@dlapiper.com

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Conference on transport research

The fourth European Transport Research Arena (TRA2011) will take place in Athens, Greece, on 23-26 April 2012. TRA2012 aims to not only present the latest achievements of European research, but above all to be the venue where the technological developments needed for the next decades are discussed and debated. This year the scope of the conference has been extended to all modes of surface transport: road, rail and waterborne. A newsletter has been produced to give interested parties the latest news on the conference.

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Background

EU and Eastern Partnership region move forward with transport cooperation

Following adoption of the Commission's communication on renewed approach to transport cooperation, Vice-President Siim Kallas met transport ministers of the EU Member States and of the six Eastern Partnership countries on 24 and 25 October 2011 in Krakow, to move forward with transport cooperation between the EU and those partner countries.

Transport ministers summarised key challenges and opportunities for closer transport cooperation in a Joint Declaration. As a concrete initiative, they launched the Eastern Partnership Transport Panel as a framework for transport cooperation between the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries.

As next steps, ministers have agreed to:

  • follow up actions set out in the Commission communication for closer transport market integration and improved infrastructure connections
  • plan a regional transport network for the Eastern Partnership region that connects with the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and between the countries themselves
  • take into account the transport infrastructure projects of mutual interest
  • cooperate with international financial institutions that can contribute to improved transport connections through financing

The EU and partner countries plan to review progress at a next Eastern Partnership ministerial transport meeting that will be organised on the basis of proposal by the Commission and the Presidency of the Council, and in cooperation with the partner countries.

In summer 2011, the European Commission put forward actions to improve transport connections with the EU's neighbouring countries (1). To bring transport cooperation with the neighbours to the East to the same level as with other neighbouring regions, specific focus is given to the Eastern Partnership countries. Countries covered by the Eastern Partnership are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Several steps have already been taken to strengthen transport links with this region. The Eastern Partnership Transport Panel met for the first time in Brussels on 14 October to discuss issues concerning transport cooperation, including progress made in negotiations on a comprehensive aviation agreement with Moldova and a mandate from the Council to negotiate a comprehensive aviation agreement with Azerbaijan.

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