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Brussels, 25th February 2008

European Community strengthens aviation relations with Jordan

Today, the EU and Jordan signed an aviation agreement which allows European airlines to fly between Jordan 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 Jordan. It acknowledges the existence of the single market for air transport in the relations between the EU and Jordan and demonstrates that there is an external dimension of the single market for air transport. EU Transport Ministers authorised in November 2007 the Commission to open more ambitious aviation negotiations with Jordan. These will aim to integrate Jordan further into the European air transport market.

'I welcome this important step in the EU's air transport relations with Jordan. This agreement recognises that airlines in the EU are not any longer national airlines but Community airlines. And I am looking forward to a broader aviation agreement with Jordan before the end of the year', declared Vice-President Jacques Barrot upon signing the agreement.

The so-called 'horizontal' agreement signed today does not replace the bilateral agreements in place between the EU Member States and Jordan 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 over 30 countries worldwide. More than 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.

Air transport is crucial for the relations between the EU and Jordan, linking people, cultures and businesses. As part of the objective to establish a common aviation area with the EU's neighbouring countries by 2010, the Commission was authorised today to open broader aviation negotiations with Jordan. These negotiations will be based on two principles: on the one hand, the opening of market access for air services between the EU and Jordan; on the other hand, a process of regulatory cooperation to ensure the highest levels of safety, security and environmental sustainability of air transport. An economic study estimates that such an agreement will generate consumer benefits of €30 million. A similar agreement has been negotiated in 2006 with Morocco, which has led to a substantial increase in air services between this Mediterranean country and the EU.

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