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Brussels, 18 April 2010

Volcanic ash cloud: President Barroso launches European Commission action to address economic consequences

European Commission President Barroso today decided to set up an ad-hoc group to assess the impact of the situation created by the volcanic ash cloud on the air travel industry and the economy in general. The President wishes to ensure that the EU has the right analysis to be able to respond appropriately, if needed, and that any measures taken across the EU to respond to economic consequences of this situation are properly coordinated.

President Barroso has asked Vice-President Kallas, responsible for Transport, to lead this work, assisted by Vice-President Almunia (Competition and State Aids) and Commissioner Rehn (Economic and Monetary Affairs).

He has also asked Vice-President Kallas to liaise closely with the Spanish Transport Council Presidency with a view to the appropriate contacts between the Member States and in particular the consideration of an extraordinary Transport Council meeting or video conference.

The Commission will continue to liaise with Eurocontrol and the competent national authorities on the development in the airspace and decisions on flight suspensions, which are the competence of the national authorities.

President Barroso said: “The volcanic ash cloud has created an unprecedented situation. I have asked Vice-President Kallas to coordinate the Commission’s response and fully assess the impact of the situation created by volcanic ash cloud on the economy, and the air travel industry in particular. It is important that all measures to be considered are coordinated at the European level.”

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