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Transport and Telecommunications Council – 29 October 2012

Commission Européenne - MEMO/12/812   26/10/2012

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 26 October 2012

Transport and Telecommunications Council – 29 October 2012

The EU's Council of transport ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Monday 29 October under the Presidency of Cyprus and will be chaired by Minister Florentzou.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, will represent the European Commission in the discussion on Airport slots, Roadworthiness tests, the Maritime Labour Convention, Tachograph, EU/Eurocontrol agreement. Furthermore the Commission will inform the Council on the latest developments of the inclusion of aviation in the European Emission Trading System (ETS) and the deterioration of relations with Russia, particularly regarding aviation.

Airports slots

On 1 December 2011, the Commission submitted to the European Parliament and the Council a proposal for a Regulation on common rules for the allocation of slots at European Union airports. This proposal is part of the so-called "airport package", a set of three legislative proposals aimed at fostering competitiveness in European airports and at increasing their performance in terms of efficiency, quality and resilience.

The general objective of this proposal is to ensure that the allocation and use of airport slots in congested airports is effective, also by enhancing fair competition and competitiveness between operators. It amends Council Regulation (EEC) No 95/93 of 18 January 1993 on common rules for the allocation of slots at Community airports, the current basic act establishing the rules and procedures on slots allocation. The Commission's proposal would increase the capacity of airports to handle an additional 24 million passengers per year and 5 billion economic benefits on the period 2012-2025.

The Presidency is seeking a Council agreement in the form of "General Approach" on an amended text, which, if adopted, would reduce considerably the benefits expected by the European Commission, in terms of passenger journeys possible through our crowded airports and the associated economic benefits, identified by the Commission in its proposal.

The European Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal in December 2012.

For more information:

IP – "Better Airports" package launched

Memo - Europe's Airports 2030: Challenges Ahead

Maritime Labour Convention: Flag state responsibilities and Port State control

On 23 March 2012, the Commission transmitted to the European Parliament and to the Council the two proposals relating to the enforcement of the International Maritime Labour Convention of 2006.

The flag state proposal aims at requiring Member States to monitor the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention from the flag state perspective. The port state proposal aims at requiring Member States to monitor the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention by means of Port State Control. Monitoring will cover all ships calling at EU ports irrespective of flag.

The two future directives will be a precious instrument to help ensure decent working conditions for seafarers worldwide and to achieve a global level-playing field for shipping in this field.

It is expected that the Council could adopt general approaches on both proposals. The European Parliament is expected to vote in plenary in February or March 2013.

Tachograph

On 19 July 2011, the Commission adopted a proposal on new smart tachographs which automatically record the driving time of professional drivers in a tamper-proof way. The proposal will ensure a more uniform enforcement of the social rules in road transport and avoid accidents caused by the accumulation of drivers' fatigue by substantially reducing the current possibilities for fraud. It will also make the existing tachograph easier to use, hence reducing administrative burdens for road transport operators.

In its first reading opinion in July, the European Parliament put forward a number of amendments. While the Commission supports the vast majority, a number of them introduce changes with significant economic impacts which need to be further analysed.

The Council is expected to conclude a political agreement on the basis of the general approach found earlier.

The Commission is pleased as it will allow the start of formal discussions in view of an early second reading agreement between the European Parliament and Council. The final adoption of the regulation and the implementation of the smart tachograph are promptly needed to create a more level playing field in the commercial road transport market and avoid manipulations of tachograph which endanger road safety.

For more information:

IP - Road transport: new tachograph rules will save companies more than €500 million per year

Roadworthiness

The proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers is part of the Roadworthiness Package, adopted by the Commission on 13 July 2012.

The roadworthiness test proposal aims to increase road safety by strengthening control standards, by harmonisation of test items and methods including those for electronic safety components, minimum requirements for equipment and skills of personnel and harmonisation of definition of defects. Studies of vehicles involved in accidents have shown that technical defects are a contributing factor in about 6 % of accidents.

The Commission proposal focuses on the vehicles with high risk, including powered two wheelers, older vehicles and vehicles with high mileage. To arrive at a common minimum level of safety for vehicles in circulation, the Commission proposed common minimum standards on training of inspectors, on testing items and on testing equipment, as well as a common assessment methodology for detected deficiencies. Member States would still be at liberty to set even tougher standards for the sake of road safety.

For more information:

IP - Road safety: Tougher vehicle testing rules to save lives

Memo - Road Safety: The Roadworthiness Package – Tougher vehicle checks to save lives

EU/Eurocontrol Agreement

On 8 June 2011, the Commission submitted a Recommendation to the Council in order to authorise the Commission to open and conduct negotiations with the European Organisation for Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL).

The main objective of the Agreement is to replace the existing 2003 Memorandum of Cooperation between the European Commission and EUROCONTROL, and thus to consolidate the already existing cooperation arrangements and activities. The evolution of the Single European Sky (SES) regulatory framework needs to be reflected in a new and more stable arrangement, and recognising the EU's and EUROCONTROL's complementary and mutually reinforcing strengths.

The Council is expected to adopt the decision allowing the signature of the agreement. The adoption of the decision will also allow implementing the agreement on a provisional basis pending its conclusion.

Other business

The Commission will also:

  • Inform Transport Ministers about the Commission's decision to put cooperation in transport on hold as long as Russia does not respect its commitment on Siberian overflights.

  • Inform the Member States about the latest developments on the inclusion of aviation in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) and on the process underway towards a global solution at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).


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