European Council Adopts Mandates on Comprehensive EU Air Transportation Agreements
The European Council last week adopted mandates that allow the European Commission to start negotiations on comprehensive EU-level air transport agreements with four partners: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey.
The European Commission (EC) is the European Union’s executive body. The European Council is comprised of the heads of government of EU members, plus the president of the council and the president of the EC.
This pursuit of aviation agreements is one of the main deliverables of the new Aviation Strategy for Europe, an initiative to boost Europe’s economy, strengthen its industrial base, and reinforce its global leadership position, which are three core priorities of EC President Jean-Claude Juncker.
The agreement with ASEAN is set to become the first EU bloc-to-bloc aviation agreement. The UAE, Qatar, and Turkey are among the most dynamic and fastest growing aviation markets. All agreements are directed at allowing market development and growth based on common rules and transparency.
“Europe is showing leadership in its external aviation policy with a balanced approach consisting of market opening based on fair and transparent market conditions,” said Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Netherlands Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment and chair of the council meeting.
The goal of comprehensive EU-level aviation agreements is to create new business opportunities, improve market access, and ensure fair competition under transparent market conditions. They also aim to increase Europe’s international connectivity and ensure a high quality of service for passengers. Airlines, airports, and passengers will benefit from enhanced regulatory cooperation and convergence in areas such as aviation safety, aviation security and economic regulation.
“Global connectivity is a driver of trade and tourism, directly contributing to economic growth and job creation,” said Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport. “Once agreed, these agreements will offer new business opportunities to the whole aviation sector. However this is only the beginning. I now invite Member States to continue working on the remaining mandates.”
Once concluded, it is estimated that the economic benefits of the agreements could be up to $9 billion in the first seven years of an ASEAN agreement; $5.7 billion annually from increased tourism from Turkey; and $9.5 billion from the Gulf Cooperation Council States during the first eight years of the agreement.
The EC will reach out to these partners in order to start negotiations shortly.