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IP/10/1658

Brussels, 3 December 2010

EU signs air transport agreement with Georgia for integration into the European common aviation market

The European Union and Georgia have signed yesterday in the margins of the EU Transport Council a comprehensive air services agreement which will open up and integrate the respective markets, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for consumers and operators. The agreement will establish a "Common Aviation Area" between Georgia and the EU based on common rules in important areas such as aviation safety and security.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "The comprehensive air services agreement signed in Brussels today is very important for further strengthening the overall economic, trade and tourism relations between Georgia and the EU. The agreement will allow Georgia to become a full partner of the EU in aviation and gradually integrate Georgia into a wider pan-European aviation market. This is a very important step in our strategy of closer integration between the EU and its neighbourhood."

The agreement will open the respective markets and integrate Georgia into a wider European Common Aviation Area. As a result of the agreement, Georgia will harmonise its legislation with European standards and implement EU aviation rules in areas such as aviation safety, security, environment, consumer protection, air traffic management, economic regulation, competition issues and social aspects.

The agreement will enable all EU airlines to operate direct flights to Georgia from anywhere in the EU and vice versa for Georgian carriers. The agreement will remove all restrictions on prices and the number of weekly flights between Georgia and the EU.

Similar agreements have already been concluded between the EU and the Western Balkan countries and between the EU and Morocco – both with very positive results. An agreement with Jordan will be signed later this month. Currently, the EU is also negotiating agreements of this type with Ukraine, Israel, and Lebanon. The European Commission has received a mandate to negotiate similar agreements also with Tunisia and Algeria while Moldova earlier this year expressed an interest in negotiating such an air transport agreement with the EU.

The new comprehensive aviation agreement will provide significant impetus towards strengthening aviation relations generally between the EU and Georgia. Over the past five years passenger traffic between the EU and Georgia has increased by an average of 10% per year whereas cargo traffic in the same period has increased by an annual average of no less than 26% over the past five years. Today, there are direct flight connections between Georgia and nine EU Member States (Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Poland).

More information on international aviation relations of the EU at:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal/international/index_en.htm


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