Brussels, 11 December 2013
Transport: Commission strengthens cooperation with Israel
Vice-President Siim Kallas, the EU transport commissioner, is travelling to Israel on 11 and 12 December 2013 for discussions on EU–Israel transport cooperation. The visit follows the signature in June this year of a comprehensive EU–Israel air transport agreement.
Vice-President Kallas said: "Israel is a key partner for the EU in transport. The aviation agreement that we signed earlier this year is very important for further strengthening the overall economic exchanges, trade and tourism as well as broader political relations between Israel and the EU. I am very pleased that the agreement is already starting to have a positive impact in the market – to the benefit of consumers."
During his visit to Israel, Vice-President Kallas and Israel's minister of transport and road safety, Israel Katz, will open the first meeting of the EU–Israel Joint Committee set up under the EU–Israel aviation agreement with the aim of ensuring the proper implementation of the agreement. Vice-President Kallas will discuss closer cooperation between the EU and Israel in the field of aviation including in the areas of aviation safety, security and air traffic management. Messrs Kallas and Katz will also attend the signature of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Blue-Med Functional Airspace Block (FAB) and the civil aviation authority of Israel which will involve Israel, initially as observer but ultimately as a potential full member in the Blue-Med FAB. The Blue-Med FAB has been developed by Italy, Cyprus, Greece and Malta with the aim of integrating the operation of their national airspaces, thereby generating operational, economic, environmental and other benefits in terms of improved safety.
Vice-President Kallas will visit the port of Ashdod on the Mediterranean coast. Israeli ports are members of the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO). The importance of the bilateral freight exchanges between the EU and Israel would justify reinforced cooperation on ports policy, to the mutual benefit of both parties.
The visit will also cover road safety, in particular innovative technology. Israel is associated with the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development. Israel will continue to be eligible for Horizon 2020 funding, after agreement was recently found with the EU on the conditions.
Finally on urban mobility, Vice-President Kallas will meet Mr Ron Huldai, mayor of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv participates in the current CIVITAS demonstration project 2MOVE2, together with Stuttgart (Germany), Brno (Czech Republic), and Malaga (Spain). Furthermore, the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) is a partner in the project. The Commission welcomes that Tel Aviv has joined the CIVITAS 'community': many of the issues Tel Aviv addresses within CIVITAS – electromobility, urban logistics, deployment of urban ITS solutions, public transport – are also receiving a lot of attention in the EU.
The Commission will continue to support CIVITAS under Horizon 2020 and the first call for proposals will be published on 11 December. Over €100 million has been allocated to CIVITAS 2020 for the years 2014 and 2015.
Key planned meetings during Vice-President Kallas's visit:
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