Brussels, 12th December 2006
Today, the EU Council has mandated the European Commission to open negotiations with Ukraine to develop a common aviation area. The aim is to further deepen aviation relations with Ukraine following the signature of similar agreements with the Western Balkan countries and Morocco. Vice-President Jacques Barrot, in charge of transport, said: “By sharing the benefits of the single aviation market, both Ukraine and the EU will improve their relationship and create huge benefits for aviation industries and consumers. With such an agreement, we ensure high levels of safety and security and facilitate trade and social links with a close neighbour”.
The agreement would be an important step towards strengthening aviation relations between EU and Ukraine. Both aviation markets are closely connected and air traffic between them is growing. In 2005, 1.8 million passengers travelled between the EU and Ukraine by air transport, 300% more than five years ago. Ukraine has an important aviation industry and is a country with a high potential for tourism. It is linked through bilateral air services agreements with all 25 EU Member States.
The agreement should not only open the respective markets but also integrate Ukraine into European aviation structures. Ukraine will harmonise its legislation with European standards and implement a large part of the European aviation acquis communautaire. The agreement will thus be a further important step in the creation of a wider Common Aviation Area between the EU and its neighbours by 2010.
Ukraine is considered a priority country in the European Neighbourhood
Policy. In February 2005, both sides endorsed a joint EU-Ukraine Action Plan to
support Ukraine’s objective to further integrate into European political
and economic structures. Increased cooperation in the field of civil aviation,
including on safety and security issues, is one of the concrete priorities
outlined in the Action Plan. Ukraine and the EU have recently expanded their
bilateral cooperation through the signature of a horizontal air services
agreement and an agreement on Ukraine’s participation in Europe’s
satellite radio-navigation programme GALILEO (IP/05/666).