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Brussels, 4th December 2007

European Community strengthens aviation relations with the United Arab Emirates

The EU and the United Arab Emirates have signed an aviation agreement which allows European airlines to fly between the United Arab Emirates and any EU Member State. The agreement removes nationality restrictions in the bilateral air services agreements, and therefore allows any EU airline to operate flights between any EU Member State where it is established and the United Arab Emirates. It acknowledges the existence of the European single market for air transport in the relations between the EU and the United Arab Emirates.

"I welcome this important step in the EU's air transport relations with the United Arab Emirates. The agreement recognises that airlines in the EU are not any longer national airlines but Community airlines. All EU airlines have now non-discriminatory access to the air transport market between the EU and the United Arab Emirates”, declared Vice-President Barrot upon signing the agreement.

The so-called 'horizontal' aviation agreement does not replace the bilateral agreements in place between the EU Member States and the United Arab Emirates, but brings them in line with EU law, by removing the nationality restrictions contained in bilateral air services agreements. Horizontal agreements have been negotiated with 29 countries worldwide. About 600 air services agreements have already been modified by the joint efforts of the European Commission and Member States to replace nationality rules with the principle of EU airline designation.

The agreement is considered as an important step in the aviation relations between the EU and the United Arab Emirates, which is the first country in the Gulf region to sign such an agreement. Air transport is crucial for the relations between the two regions, linking people, cultures and businesses.
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