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Brussels, 23 November 2006

The EU and India agree to strengthen cooperation in civil aviation

At the occasion of a successful joint EU-India Aviation Summit held in New Delhi, Vice-President Jacques Barrot and India's Minister for Civil Aviation Mr. Praful Patel signed a "Joint Declaration" on 22 November 2006 that will lay the foundation for closer cooperation between the EU and India in a range of areas of civil aviation. "Given the strong growth and infrastructure challenges facing India's aviation sector, I am extremely pleased with the prospects of enhancing cooperation in civil aviation with India. The scope for cooperation is huge and will benefit both India and EU industry", said Vice-President Jacques Barrot in New Delhi.

India is one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets[1] and is of increasing strategic importance to the EU and its industry.

In his opening speech at the joint EU-India Aviation Summit, Vice-President Barrot described the common challenges faced by India and the EU in aviation and invited India to face these in partnership through closer cooperation with the EU.

In 2004, India and the EU upgraded their already strong overall relationship into a strategic partnership. This strategic partnership is underpinned by an agreed Joint Action Plan in which civil aviation plays a key enabling role.

Since the adoption of the Joint Action Plan in September 2005, co-operation in the area of civil aviation has been given new impetus. On this basis Vice-President Barrot and Minister Patel agreed in Delhi on two important concrete steps forward in enhancing EU-India aviation relations in the future.

As a first significant step, the two sides agreed to restore legal certainty to all the bilateral air services agreements between India and EU Member States. Therefore, it was agreed that a “horizontal agreement” will be finalised as a matter of priority. To that effect, the parties will meet in early 2007. The aim of the "horizontal agreement" will be to amend certain provisions in the bilateral agreements thereby bringing these into conformity with Community law thus restoring legal certainty to these agreements and the operators flying under them.

Secondly, building on the very successful results achieved under the 1999-2006 “EU-India Civil Aviation Co-operation Project”, Messrs. Barrot and Patel agreed to prepare a Joint Action Plan that will set out the key priorities for strengthening future technical and technological co-operation. This Joint Action Plan, which will also be finalised as a matter of priority, and a new technical co-operation programme that will start in 2007 will be important instruments in taking forward the wide range of areas of mutual interest of industry, regulators and the wider public of both sides, as identified during the aviation summit.

The Joint Action Plan will identify the main priority areas for future technical cooperation which will cover aviation safety (including strengthening the cooperation with the European Air Safety Agency (EASA)), security, airport infrastructure, air traffic management, environmental policy, economic regulation, training and industrial co-operation.

At the EU-India Aviation Summit, Vice-President Barrot also invited India to become associated in major EU technological programmes such as GALILEO, the satellite navigation programme, and SESAR, the air traffic management project.

The EU-India Aviation Summit was highly successful in bringing together more than 300 leading representatives of the Indian and the European Union aviation sectors representing public authorities, airlines, airports, aerospace industries and service providers. The summit provided a very effective platform for identifying priority areas and ways forward in closer EU-India aviation co-operation for the future.

See also :

Press release announcing the EU-India Aviation Summit: IP/06/1588
The programme for the Summit:

COM(2005)409: Developing a Community civil aviation policy towards the Republic of India.

[1] During the first 10 months of 2006, domestic air passenger traffic in India increased by 50%.

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