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Brussels, 30th November 2007

EU and Canada start negotiations on a broad aviation agreement

Delegations from Canada and the European Union met on 27/28 November 2007 in Brussels for the first round of negotiations for an ambitious comprehensive aviation agreement between both sides. The negotiations were officially opened by H.E. Ross Hornby, Ambassador of Canada to the EU, and Matthias Ruete, the European Commission's Director General of Energy and Transport.

"Canada is a key trade and political partner of the European Union. The aviation agreement should open up access to our respective markets, increase regulatory cooperation and thus open a new chapter in EU-Canada aviation relations", said Vice-President Barrot, who is responsible for transport, welcoming the opening of negotiations.

The European Commission received a mandate to negotiate an "Open Aviation Area" Agreement with Canada in October 2007, following its proposal to open negotiations at the beginning of that year.

A comprehensive agreement with Canada would create significant benefits for consumers and for the industry. According to a study launched by the Commission, the number of passengers between the EU and Canada could increase from the current 8.7 to 14 million by 2011. In addition, the agreement could generate consumer benefits of at least 72 Million Euro through lower fares. The agreement would create the basis for connections between all EU Member States and Canada. Currently, bilateral air services arrangements exist between 19 Member States and Canada.

Both sides discussed a broad range of issues covered by the future agreement and agreed to continue negotiations at an expeditious pace with a view to concluding a new agreement that would constitute a major step forward in relations between the European Union and Canada.

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