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European Commission proposes aviation policy for neighbouring countries

The European Commission outlined in its communication A Community aviation policy towards its neighbours the economic and …

The European Commission outlined in its communication A Community aviation policy towards its neighbours the economic and political benefits of closer aviation relations between the European Union and its neighbouring countries. To launch this initiative, the Commission will ask for a mandate to negotiate with the countries of the Western Balkans and Morocco, Jordan, and Lebanon.



In a step by step strategy, the Commission will ask first for a mandate to negotiate with the countries of the Western Balkans, an agreement which would lead to their inclusion into the Single Aviation Market. Such a European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) should, according to the Commission, also include Romania and Bulgaria. In addition, the Commission will immediately start preliminary discussions with Turkey to see whether it would be possible to involve Turkey in such negotiations as well. In the longer term ECAA could span the whole of Europe.



For the countries on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, the Commission envisages Euro-Mediterranean aviation agreements. Such agreements would not only open the aviation market between the Community and Mediterranean countries, but would equally enhance co-operation in such fields as aviation safety, aviation security and environmental protection. The Commission has selected Morocco, Lebanon and Jordan as its first targets for the conclusion of such Euro-Mediterranean aviation agreements, and has asked the Council for a mandate to negotiate with them.



The present Communication, and the negotiations it proposes, build on the recent developments with regard to the enhancement of the Community`s role in international aviation. These developments were triggered by a series of landmark judgements from the European Court of Justice in the so-called Open skies cases, in which the Court recognised exclusive Community competences with regard to important aspects of external aviation.



The Communication announces that further steps are soon to follow, as the Commission is already preparing proposals for aviation negotiations with countries in the Far-East and South Pacific area (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, China), in addition to the negotiations with the United States, which started last year.

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