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IP/07/23

Brussels, 9th January 2007

Commission proposes to open aviation negotiations with Canada

The European Commission has proposed today to open negotiations with Canada on a comprehensive aviation agreement. The aim is to establish an open aviation area between the EU and Canada, to open market restrictions and to achieve a high level of regulatory convergence.

Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot, in charge of transport said: "Canada is a key partner of the European Union. This agreement will facilitate the travel of people and goods between the EU and Canada and will establish a high level of regulatory standards, in particular in the fields of safety and security."

With its market-oriented economic and transport policy and high regulatory standards, Canada is a strong candidate for a new-generation of air transport agreement with the European Community. Air traffic between the EU and Canada has doubled between 2000 and 2005 and Canada is a leading aviation partner of the EU.

An Open Aviation Area 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 would increase from now 8 to 14 million by 2011. In addition, an Open Aviation Area may generate consumer benefits of at least € 72 million through lower fares and could create 3 700 jobs already in the first year. The agreement would create the basis for connections between all EU Member States and Canada. Currently, Canada has bilateral air services agreements with 17 Member States.

As a priority, the agreement is aimed at restoring legal certainty for air services between the EU and Canada. All existing bilateral air services agreements are not in conformity with Community law. The Commission has therefore proposed to Canada a specific agreement to solve that problem.

The Commission has already received a mandate for the creation of a transatlantic Open Aviation Area with the United States, and for the development of a Common Aviation Area with Ukraine. It has successfully finalised negotiations on Siberian overflights with the Russian Federation. The Euro-Mediterranean aviation agreement with Morocco and the European Common Aviation Area with the Western Balkans were signed in 2006.


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