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Brussels, 9 October 2013
Transport Council – 10 October 2013
The EU Council of transport ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Thursday 10 October under the Lithuanian Presidency. Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, will represent the European Commission. Ministers will discuss air passenger rights, rail safety, the extension of the mandate of the SESAR Joint Undertaking and funding for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
A news conference will be held, together with the Lithuanian Presidency, after the Council meeting in the press room of the Council.
Air passenger rights
The Commission proposed a revision of air passenger rights on 13 March 2013, to ensure that air passengers have new and better rights to information, care and re-routing when they are stranded at the airport. It also proposed better complaint procedures and enforcement measures so passengers can actually obtain the rights to which they are entitled. The proposal brings legal clarity and introduces new rights where necessary.
The Lithuanian presidency has asked ministers two questions relating to missed connections and compensations for long delays which will be addressed in an orientation debate. No decision is planned on this subject during the meeting.
SESAR Joint Undertaking
On 10 July 2013, the Commission announced a proposal for €600 million of new funding to unblock congestion in Europe's airspace. The aim is to develop and deploy the new technology needed to deliver Europe's Single Sky – the ambitious project to reform Europe's airspace, doubling capacity and halving air traffic management costs. The underlying research has so far been managed by the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking (JU). Given the success of the JU and following the agreement on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the Commission proposed to extend the duration of the JU's mandate until December 2024, as well as a new EU contribution of €600 million from the Horizon 2020 programme.
The Commission expects the Council to agree on a position on the proposal which respects the core elements of the Commission proposal. The Regulation can only be adopted by the Council following consultation of the European Parliament.
IP/13/664 - European Commission invests €600 million in new research to unblock congestion in Europe's airspace
MEMO/13/666 – Frequently Asked Questions
The Commission's proposal for a recast of the Railway Safety Directive is part of the Fourth Railway Package adopted on 30 January 2013. The EU railway market has seen important changes, with three legislative ‘railway packages’ gradually opening up national markets and making railways more competitive and interoperable at EU level. The Commission proposed the Fourth Railway Package to remove the remaining obstacles and ultimately improve EU rail services.
The main aim of the recast of the Railway Safety Directive is to simplify the process of granting safety certificates to railway undertakings. So far, this process consists of two parts, one granted in the Member State where the railway undertaking first established itself and one granted in each Member State where it intends to operate. Under the new proposal, railway undertakings will have to file a single application to the European Railway Agency for all the Member States where they intend to operate.
The Commission welcomes the progress made under the Lithuanian Presidency. Transport Ministers will aim at a General Approach on this part of the Fourth Railway Package. The Commission will continue to work with the Council and Parliament to reach an ambitious agreement as well as rapid progress on the other elements of the package.
IP/13/65 - European Railways at a junction: the Commission adopts proposals for a Fourth Railway Package
MEMO/13/45 - European Rail: Challenges Ahead
Watch video The Future of Rail in Europe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GHz-stzCso
European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)
EMSA provides technical and scientific assistance to the Commission in the fields of maritime safety, maritime security, prevention of pollution and response to pollution caused by ships. It was set up in the aftermath of the "Erika" disaster. The proposed total indicative amount for the multi-annual financial framework for pollution response 2014-2020 is €160.5 million. The proposal does not reopen the discussion on EMSA's mandate and tasks, which are defined in its Founding Regulation as amended in January 2013.
The Commission expects that the Council will reach agreement in the form of a General Approach and that negotiations can progress quickly with the European Parliament so that the new regulation can enter into force soon in order to give EMSA the required legal and financial security for its activities.