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Conseil/00/470

Brussels, 20 and 21 December 200014004/00 (Presse 470)

2324th Council meeting TRANSPORT Brussels, 20 and 21 December 2000

President: Mr Jean-Claude GAYSSOT

Minister for Infrastructure,Transport and Housing of the French Republic

CONTENTS

PARTICIPANTS 

ITEM DEBATED

IV?EASA Establishment of the European Aviation Safety Agency Council conclusions PAGEREF _Toc505419329 \h IV?Harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation PAGEREF _Toc505419330 \h V?Safety requirements and attestation of professional competence for cabin crews in civil aviation PAGEREF _Toc505419331 \h V?Transatlantic relations in the aviation field Presidency conclusions PAGEREF _Toc505419332 \h V?Towards the creation of a "Single European Sky" PAGEREF _Toc505419333 \h VISHIPPING TRANSPORT PAGEREF _Toc505419334 \h VI?Maritime safety PAGEREF _Toc505419335 \h VI?Directive on manning conditions for passenger and ferry services PAGEREF _Toc505419336 \h IX?Directive on loading of bulk carriers PAGEREF _Toc505419337 \h IXLAND TRANSPORT PAGEREF _Toc505419338 \h IX?Railway package PAGEREF _Toc505419339 \h IX?Directive on the working time of mobile workers PAGEREF _Toc505419340 \h X?Regulation on a uniform driver attestation Council conclusions PAGEREF _Toc505419341 \h XI?Directive on prohibiting heavy goods vehicles from travelling at weekends PAGEREF _Toc505419342 \h XI?Training of drivers PAGEREF _Toc505419343 \h XII?Amendment of Regulation No 3820/85 (working time of mobile workers) PAGEREF _Toc505419344 \h XII?Public service obligations in passenger transport PAGEREF _Toc505419345 \h XII?The granting of aid for the coordination of transport by rail, road and inland waterway PAGEREF _Toc505419346 \h XIIHORIZONTAL QUESTIONS PAGEREF _Toc505419347 \h XIV?GALILEO project for a European satellite: Presidency conclusions PAGEREF _Toc505419348 \h XIVMISCELLANEOUS PAGEREF _Toc505419349 \h XIV?Rights of airline passengers PAGEREF _Toc505419350 \h XIV?Agreement with the CCEE establishing a Common Aviation Area PAGEREF _Toc505419351 \h XIV?Flights over Siberia PAGEREF _Toc505419352 \h XIV?Safety of passenger vessels, employment and training of seafarers PAGEREF _Toc505419353 \h XIV?White Paper on the common transport policy PAGEREF _Toc505419354 \h XV?Safety in tunnels PAGEREF _Toc505419355 \h XV?Green Paper on the security of supplies PAGEREF _Toc505419356 \h XV?Ecopoints for transit via Austria PAGEREF _Toc505419357 \h XVITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE PAGEREF _Toc505419358 \h XVTRANSPORT PAGEREF _Toc505419359 \h XV--Directive on summer-time arrangements PAGEREF _Toc505419360 \h XVINDUSTRY PAGEREF _Toc505419361 \h XV--Multiannual Programme for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship PAGEREF _Toc505419362 \h XVINTERNAL MARKET PAGEREF _Toc505419363 \h XV--Aid granted under two former freight aid schemes for the island of Samsø PAGEREF _Toc505419364 \h XV

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For further information call 02 285 60 83 or 02 285 63 19

PARTICIPANTS

The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:

Belgium:

Ms Isabelle DURANTDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Mobility and Transport
Denmark:
Mr Jakob BUKSTI

Ms Pia GJELLERUP

Minister for Transport

Minister for Trade and Industry

Germany:
Mr Kurt BODEWIGFederal Minister for Transport, Building and Housing
Greece:
Mr Christos VERELIS

Mr Christos PAPOUTSIS

Minister for Transport and Communications

Minister for the Merchant Shipping

Spain:
Mr Francisco ÀLVAREZ-CASCOSMinister for Internal Development
France:
Mr Jean-Claude GAYSSOTMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Housing
Ireland:
Ms Mary O'ROURKE

Mr Joe JACOB

Minister for Public Enterprise

Minister of State at the Department of Public Enterprise, (with special responsibility for Energy)

Italy:
Mr Pierluigi BERSANIMinister for Transport and Shipping
Luxembourg:
Mr Henri GRETHENMinister for Transport
Netherlands:
Ms Tineke NETELENBOSMinister for Transport, Communications and Public Works
Austria:
Ms Monika FORSTINGERFederal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology
Portugal:
Mr Jorge COELHO

Mr Guilhermino RODRIGUES

Mr José JUNQUEIRO

Minister for Social Infrastructure

State Secretary for Transport

State Secretary for Port Administration

Finland:

Mr Olli-Pekka HEINONEN

Mr Juhani KORPELA

Minister for Transport and Communications

State Secretary for Transport and Communications

Sweden:
Mr Björn ROSENGREN

Ms Brigitta HEIJER

Minister for Industry, Employment and Communications

State Secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications

United Kingdom:
Lord MacDONALD OF TRADESTONMinister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Minister for Transport
Commission:
Ms Loyola DE PALACIOVice-President
AVIATION

  • EASA Establishment of the European Aviation Safety Agency Council conclusions

"The Council having received the proposal of the Commission establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation and creating a European Aviation Safety Agency:

     welcomes favourably that proposal which provides a good basis for the establishment of a European Aviation Safety Agency;

     broadly accepts the institutional architecture proposed which, in accordance with the Community institutional balance, enables a clear division of roles between:

       the Community legislator which shall establish the safety objectives and adopt the essential requirements to meet them,

       the Commission which shall adopt, through the Comitology procedure, the necessary rules to implement these essential requirements,

       the Agency with its decision making powers on the technical level which shall act as the internationally recognised European centre of expertise accountable for safety within its areas of competence and in addition shall assist the Commission in all its tasks,

       the Member States, whose participation is ensured at appropriate level in certification and rule making process;

     takes note that, at this stage, essential requirements are only provided for aeronautical products and agrees to proceed on that basis so as to further the creation of a common aviation safety system and takes also note that all safety matters already covered by JAA activities will be progressively covered by essential requirements as soon as possible, with a possible further extension to other aviation safety matters;

     instructs the COREPER to continue the examination of the Commission proposal with a view to ensuring that:

       essential requirements truly reflect the legislator's intentions while remaining generic in nature,

       the Agency is endowed with the necessary powers to exercise its responsibilities in the field of aviation safety and to manage fully the type certification process and issue the related certificates (it should be able to attract high quality staff),

       the definition of the liability of the Agency and the other actors of the Community system is clearly established,

       more generally, the objectives that the Council had set for the establishment of a European Aviation Safety Authority and the additional orientations adopted on 26 June 2000 are reached;

     confirms its will that this new process for European Aviation Safety should be open to European third countries in conformity with Community law;

 invites the Commission to:

     initiate exploratory discussions with third European countries which are members of the JAA with the view to associate them to the Community system up from its establishment,

     further work on the transition towards the Community system and examine with the JAA its impact on their future;

 restates its willingness to give the highest priority to this matter and invites the Presidency to inform the European Parliament of its intention to reach a common position in its June 2001 meeting."

  • Harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation

The Council took note of the progress of discussions on the amendment of Council Regulation No 3922/91 transposing JAR OPS 1 on the harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation. These discussions should continue so that the Council and the European Parliament can approve the measure in due course.

    The measure concerns the transposition into Community law of aviation safety requirements approved by the JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities) at pan-European level, known in aviation terminology as JAR OPS 1. This lays down the requirements applicable to the operation of all civilian aircraft for commercial air transport purposes.

  • Safety requirements and attestation of professional competence for cabin crews in civil aviation

The Council took note of the progress of discussions on the proposal for a Directive on safety requirements and attestation of professional competence for cabin crews. It asked the Permanent Representatives Committee to continue examination of the proposal with a view to establishing a Council common position.

    The Commission proposal takes as its starting point the observation that provisions governing training and attestation of professional competence for cabin crew vary very widely throughout the Community. It is based on the technical requirements drawn up by the JAA, which include, in particular, standards for cabin crew training. In this case, the standards aim to ensure that cabin crew are fit and able to carry out safety-related duties. Concerning the scope, the Council's preparatory bodies took the view that the Directive should cover problems of initial training, independently of the operator, while conversion training and continuing training would benefit by being incorporated in Regulation No 3922/91 (see previous point).

  • Transatlantic relations in the aviation field Presidency conclusions

Following the discussion on this subject, the Presidency noted that in general most Member States and operators in European air transport welcomed the projected creation of a "Transatlantic Common Aviation Area".

The Council took note of the recent discussions opened within the framework of preparation for the planned negotiations on this matter with the United States.

The social and economic dimension of the changes envisaged and the need to continue consultations with the economic and social partners as this project develops were emphasised.

It was pointed out that obstacles remained to the adoption of a mandate, notably because of legal proceedings under way before the Court of Justice on agreements concluded between certain Member States and the United States, and because of certain specific problems.

The Permanent Representatives Committee was asked to continue with the discussions necessary to

finalise a mandate to be adopted as soon as the political situation permitted.

  • Towards the creation of a "Single European Sky"

The Council took note of a report from the High Level Working Party, chaired personally by the Vice-President of the Commission, Ms de Palacio. The report was extremely detailed. It will have to be examined carefully both within the Commission and at national government level.

The Council awaits the Commission's evaluation of this report and agreed to hold a substantive discussion based thereon at a forthcoming meeting.

    It should be noted that the Council has on more than one occasion expressed its concern with regard to aircraft delays in Europe. This problem has in the past been acute especially in summer and in connection with the crisis in Kosovo. In this context the Transport Council in June 1999 adopted a Resolution inviting the Commission to submit a report to the Council regarding initiatives to be taken to deal with the problem. The Commission formed a High Level Working Party for this purpose in order to tackle the problems of air traffic management in general, with the participation of all operators concerned, both civilian and military.

SHIPPING TRANSPORT

  • Maritime safety

The Council examined the three legislative proposals making up the "first ERIKA package" (1) on the basis of the European Parliament's first reading and the submission of amended proposals by the Commission. At the end of a wide-ranging discussion the Council:

  • gave its agreement to common positions on the Directive on ship inspection organisations and the Directive on port State control;

  • drew the following conclusions with regard to accelerated phasing-out of single-hull tankers:

"In response to the request by the Nice European Council to adopt provisions on maritime safety as soon as possible, the Council and the Commission reaffirm their determination that satisfactory Community provisions on the accelerated phasing out of single-hull tankers will be adopted by the end of June 2001.

    The Council confirms its common approach adopted by the Council in October 2000, restated below, and agrees to continue to act on that basis in the negotiations under way at the IMO.

    If the IMO reaches agreement at its April meeting, including the essential points of the Council's common approach of October, in particular the final dates for phasing out, the Council undertakes to adopt a text immediately which will transpose that agreement into Community law.

    If the IMO does not reach such an agreement, the Council undertakes to adopt by June 2001 a common position incorporating that approach, on the basis of the first reading by the European Parliament and of the amended Commission proposal."

Furthermore, the Council took note of the Commission's submission of its "second ERIKA package" (2) and of delegations' comments on it.

At the end of its discussions on maritime safety, the Council adopted the following conclusions:

"The European Council in Nice called on the Transport Council to adopt, as soon as possible, in agreement with the European Parliament, the necessary provisions for ensuring a high level of maritime safety as a means of contributing to the Union's strategy in this area. It also invited Member States to implement in advance the measures approved by the fifteen Member States where they do not require an international framework.

THE COUNCIL:

    1. gives a reminder of its conclusions of 26 June 2000 concerning maritime safety and reaffirms its commitment to pursue and step up maritime safety policy so as to reduce the risk of accidents, thereby avoiding loss of human life and preventing marine environmental pollution;

reaffirms the need to reduce the risks of oil pollution by accelerating the timetable for phasing out single-hull oil tankers by seeking agreement, as far as possible, within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Accordingly, it affirms its determination that satisfactory Community provisions on the accelerated phasing out of single-hull tankers should be adopted by the end of June 2001, and:

     welcomes the first results obtained within the International Maritime Organisation, with a view to revising Annex I to the MARPOL Convention in order to accelerate the phasing out of single-hull oil tankers, and considers that they incorporate the main aspects of the common approach adopted on 2 October 2000;

  • confirms its common approach adopted by the Council in October 2000, and agrees to continue to act on that basis in the negotiations under way at the IMO;

    • undertakes, if the IMO reaches agreement at its April meeting, including the essential points of the Council's common approach of October, in particular the final dates for phasing-out, to adopt a text immediately, transposing that agreement into Community law. If the IMO does not reach such an agreement, the Council undertakes to adopt by June 2001 a common position incorporating that approach, on the basis of the first reading by the European Parliament and of the amended Commission proposal;

    3. notes the commitment by Member States to intensify their efforts, in the framework of Port State Control, by henceforth increasing the number of inspections, where these are insufficient, and their efficiency, and by targeting ships with the highest risk, such as gas and chemical tankers over 10 years of age, bulk carriers over 12 years of age and oil tankers and passenger ships over 15 years of age not covered by Directive 99/35, in accordance with the procedures laid down in the Council's common position. It emphasises the need to properly implement and enforce Port State Control obligations and the need to harmonise such controls at a high level in the Community. It welcomes the prospect of being able to ban sub-standard ships from Community ports as from the entry into force of the necessary legal instrument;

      4. notes the commitment by Member States henceforth to improve the control of classification societies in accordance with the procedures laid down in the Council's common position. It welcomes the prospect of improving the transparency of information and of establishing a liability regime for classification societies at Community level as from the entry into force of the necessary legal instrument;

    underlines the need to ensure a proper and, as far as possible, global regime for liability and compensation in cases of pollution damage resulting from contamination by petroleum products or other noxious and hazardous substances transported by ship. Accordingly, it:

    • welcomes the initiative by the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) in adjusting the global liability regime in cases of pollution damage by oil or petroleum products. It calls on Member States, in the context of negotiations within IOPCF and the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC Convention), to support a further substantial increase in liability and compensation ceilings, and to consider possible amendments to the applicable rules in order to render parties other than shipowners liable, as well as the introduction of unlimited liability of shipowners in the event of severe or deliberate infringement of their safety obligations;

    • notes the Commission proposal aimed at improving the liability and compensation regimes for pollution damage using a complementary Community fund and undertakes to examine it as soon as possible;

    • calls on Member States and encourages third parties to ratify the 1996 International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS), as well as the 1996 Protocol amending the 1976 Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC), and to study ways of applying and developing a liability system for the carriage of hazardous and noxious substances in line with that which exists for the transport of oil and petroleum products.

    6. welcomes the fact that essential technological progress has been made in the field of on board equipment, which enables voyage data to be recorded (by means of voyage data recorder VDR systems or "black boxes") in order to facilitate post-accident investigations; is of the opinion that in view of the importance of such equipment for maritime safety and in parallel with the efforts being made on this subject within the IMO, it should be made mandatory within 5 years for cargo ships built before 1 July 2002 calling at Community ports. It encourages Member States to continue their efforts in the IMO framework to achieve this end and agrees, if this is not possible, to legislate at Community level;

      7. notes the text proposed by the Commission concerning the creation of a European agency for maritime safety and undertakes to examine it as soon as possible;

      8. notes the Commission proposal on the improvement of maritime safety and the prevention of pollution by ships and undertakes to examine it as soon as possible;

      9. calls on Member States to pursue their joint cooperation efforts with a view to increasing the quality and availability of information on maritime traffic by submitting appropriate proposals to the IMO and by setting up a regional information system between their processing centres in order to make as effective as possible the procedures for maritime traffic surveillance and for the prevention of risks to shipping and the environment;

    invites the Commission to draw up regularly an inventory of the international and Community provisions of maritime social legislation applied by Member States, covering both national first and second registers, and to evaluate periodically the monitoring of relevant binding international social provisions within the framework of Port State Control;

      11. calls on Member States to implement as soon as possible ILO Convention 180 and the Protocol to ILO Convention 147. It also invites them to take an active part in the present review of older ILO conventions relating to the maritime sector;

      12. welcomes the joint IMO-ILO initiative on issues concerning the financial security of abandoned seafarers and calls on Member States to play an active part in it."

    • Directive on manning conditions for passenger and ferry services

    The Council took note of the progress of discussions concerning the proposal for a Directive on manning conditions for regular passenger and ferry services operating between Member States. The Council took note of the incoming Swedish Presidency's intention to make progress on this issue by bringing delegations' positions closer together.

      This proposal, which was submitted by the Commission in June 1998, is intended to provide equal employment conditions for Community and non-Community seafarers aboard passenger vessels in regular service between Community Member States, thus contributing to the achievement of the internal market for seafarers.

    • Directive on loading of bulk carriers

    Pending the first reading by the European Parliament under the codecision procedure, the Council reached a common approach on the proposal for a Directive concerning loading and unloading of bulk carriers.

       The aim of this proposal is to improve protection for bulk carriers calling at Community terminals in order to load or unload solid bulk cargoes. It is intended to reduce the risks of excessive stresses and physical damage to the ship's structure during cargo handling operations, by defining the requirements applicable to such ships and terminals and by establishing harmonised procedures for cooperation and communication between those ships and terminals.

    LAND TRANSPORT

    • Railway package

    Following the agreement reached at the Conciliation Committee meeting between the European Parliament and the Council on 22 November 2000, the Council unanimously adopted the three Directives of the "railway package", namely:

       a Directive amending Directive 91/440/EEC on the development of the Community's railways;

     a Directive amending Directive 95/18/EC on the licensing of railway undertakings; and

       a Directive replacing Directive 95/19/EC on the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure and safety certification.

    A summary of these Directives was published in the Press Release of 22 November 2000 13665/00 (Presse 448-G).

    • Directive on the working time of mobile workers

    After lengthy discussion, the Council reached a political agreement by a qualified majority with the Irish and Portuguese delegations voting against and the United Kingdom delegation

    abstaining on the common position with a view to adopting the Directive on the working time of mobile workers. Once the text has been finalised in all the official languages of the Communities, the common position will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading, in accordance with the codecision procedure laid down in the Treaty.

      The purpose of this draft Directive is to establish minimum requirements in relation to the organisation of working time in order to improve the health and safety protection of persons whose occupation is the performance of mobile road-transport activities and to improve road safety and align conditions of competition. It will apply to mobile workers employed by undertakings established in a Member State, participating in road-transport activities covered by Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 or, failing that, by the European Agreement concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles engaged in International Road Transport (AETR).

      An assessment of the consequences of the temporary exclusion of self-employed drivers will be submitted by the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament two years after the deadline for transposition of the Directive. It will analyse in particular the effects of the exclusion of self-employed drivers on road safety, on conditions of competition, on the structure of the profession and on social aspects. In the light of the outcome of that analysis the Commission may, if appropriate, propose conditions under which, at the latest three years after the date of transposition, the provisions of this Directive will apply to self-employed drivers, the definition of which will have to be made clear.

      For the purposes of application the draft Directive lays down definitions of "working time" and "periods of availability".

      The definitions used in this Directive must not constitute a precedent for other Community regulations on working time.

      The average weekly working time may not exceed forty-eight hours. The maximum weekly working time may be extended to sixty hours only if, over four months, an average of forty-eight hours a week is not exceeded.

      The Commission undertook to submit, as early as January 2001, a proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85. The Council requested the Commission to take advantage of this opportunity and undertook to study the amendments to the Regulation, in particular those resulting from the new definitions of time other than driving time, and to act on such proposals as soon as possible.

    Portugal's explanation of vote

      "Portugal states that the scheme adopted by this Directive, by excluding self-employed drivers, brings into question important objectives of the common transport policy.

      As a result of this scheme, conditions involving distortion of competition are established, serious harm is done to road safety and nothing is done to promote the quality of services.

      Portugal accordingly votes against the Directive. It also states that it does not endorse the statement made on behalf of the Council".

    • Regulation on a uniform driver attestation Council conclusions

    At the close of its discussions on the relevant proposal, the Council adopted the following conclusions:

    "THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

      1. believes it is necessary to adopt, as soon as possible, measures that would make it possible to combat effectively the employment, under conditions not complying with national rules on working conditions and the rules governing drivers in the Member State where the employer is established, of drivers carrying out intra-Community road transport, or transport between a Member State and a third State with vehicles used by an undertaking established in a Member State;

      2. welcomes the Commission's presentation on 27 November 2000 of a proposal for a Regulation introducing a uniform driver attestation;

      3. believes that it is appropriate to introduce a uniform attestation in the Community, of which the detailed content should be determined subsequently, to be issued by the competent authorities in the Member State of establishment, for each driver of a vehicle carrying out international transport subject to a Community authorisation, to the undertaking holding such authorisation. The attestation should certify that the driver meets the conditions of employment stipulated in the legislative and regulatory provisions applicable on the territory of the Member State in question;

      4. considers that the scope of the Regulation should be limited to drivers who are nationals of third countries, and that its possible extension should be decided subsequently on the basis of an assessment by the Commission;

        5. instructs the Permanent Representatives Committee actively to pursue its work along these lines, in order to enable the Council to give its agreement to this Regulation at its meeting on 5 and 6 April 2001, if possible adopting it definitively following the first reading by the European Parliament."

      • Directive on prohibiting heavy goods vehicles from travelling at weekends

    The Council took note of Ms Palacio's presentation of the amended proposal for a Directive on this subject and statements by various delegations.

    The Council asked the Permanent Representatives Committee to begin examining the proposal.

      The amended proposal (the original proposal was submitted in May 1998) provides a framework for the Member States to exercise their right to set periods during which heavy goods vehicles are banned from driving on the trans-European road network (TEN-R).

      These periods have been increased in length to 24 hours (between 22.00 on Saturday and 22.00 on Sunday, or between 22.00 on the eve of a public holiday and 22.00 on the public holiday itself); they will be longer in summer (15 June to 15 September), when they will commence at 7.00 on Saturday and continue uninterrupted until 22.00 on Sunday. This approach ensures that there is no conflict with most current national driving bans and should stabilise the situation in this area.

      The proposal is designed to go some way towards harmonising the conditions in which driving restrictions are imposed in the Member States. At present there is no European legislation on driving restrictions applying to heavy goods vehicles. All legislation on driving restrictions and all provision for exemptions fall at present within the responsibility of the Member States. Eight Member States (Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Greece) do impose such restrictions on heavy goods vehicles in order to prevent traffic congestion on public holidays and at weekends. Because of the diversity of the situations in the Member States, the length and the starting and finishing times of driving restrictions, the definition of the vehicles covered and the exemptions applied vary widely from one Member State to another.

    • Training of drivers

    The Council noted the information on Commission progress towards a proposal.

    It should be noted that this question was discussed in the wider context of the policy debate on global strategy on commercial road hauliers at the Council meeting on 2 October 2000.

    At that meeting, the Council noted that views converged on the need for progress on mandatory initial training for drivers and the need to introduce continuing training.

    • Amendment of Regulation No 3820/85 (working time of mobile workers)

    The Council took note of information on Commission progress towards a proposal.

    Both this question and that of training for drivers were discussed at the Council meeting on 2 October 2000. Views on the need for progress in this area were seen to converge along two lines:

       simplification and clarification of Regulation No 3820/85, in the light of the proceedings of the Experts Working Party set up by the Commission, to ensure uniform interpretation of the Regulation; and a review of the derogations laid down in the latter, designed to limit the number of such derogations where appropriate.

    • Public service obligations in passenger transport

    • The granting of aid for the coordination of transport by rail, road and inland waterway

    The Council held a policy debate on public service obligations in passenger transport by rail, road and inland waterway. This debate was based on two legislative proposals from the Commission, viz. the Regulation on action by Member States concerning public service requirements and the award of public service contracts in passenger transport by rail, road and inland waterway, which was submitted on 13 September 2000, and the proposal for a Regulation concerning the granting of aid for the coordination of transport by rail, road and inland waterway, which was submitted on 11 August 2000.

    In the introduction to its proposal on public service requirements, the Commission notes that the present Community regulatory framework was designed for a public transport sector in which only national, regional or local suppliers operated. Today the sector faces the emergence of a single European market. In its proposal, the Commission plans to develop competition in the area of adequate transport service provision.

    In order to manage Council discussions on the subject, the Presidency called on Ministers to answer questions concerning:

       the advisability, immediately following the conciliation procedure on the "railway package", of opening up the specific field of rail passenger transport to competition and, in the process, of dealing with all modes of land transport in a horizontal text designed particularly to organise the tendering procedure;

      • the means available to the responsible authorities for ensuring the permanence of integrated services where there is a recognised need, in order to guarantee coordinated, high-quality multi-modal transport at minimum cost to the consumer and society;

      • the possibility that the responsible authorities should be allowed, where they so wish, to opt for the direct management of public transport services and, with due regard for local authorities' freedom of administration, to choose the most suitable method of awarding contracts;

      • on the basis of these considerations, the importance of social aspects and of ensuring that the responsible authorities are able to take them into account in the definition of service;

      • the possibility that existing operators may at least be able to complete their contracts, as was the case for the other modes of public transport service, particularly maritime, and, in this context, the advisability of limiting to five years the normal validity of public service contracts to be awarded under the future Regulation.

    Winding up the debate, the Presidency noted that there was a convergence of views on a number of very positive points:

    • the fact that the Commission's proposal for a Regulation guarantees a fundamental role for public passenger services as services of general interest;

    • the need to recognise that the performance of public service requirements sometimes calls for financial compensation which must be clearly found to be compatible with the Treaty;

    • the importance of social aspects needing to be taken into account in public service contract award procedures. Environmental aspects were also mentioned.

    During this discussion, some Member States thought it ill-advised to open up the specific area of rail passenger transport to competition at a time when a similar approach had just been agreed regarding international rail freight carriage.

      Several Member States argued the importance of ensuring the permanence of integrated services where there was a recognised need.

      Several Member States also thought that the responsible authorities should be able to opt for the direct management of such services.

      Sever al Member States were likewise insistent on the need to provide for more flexible provisions which would take into account both local situations and subsidiarity.

      Finally, it was noted that a number of Member States had, with the responsible authorities and operators concerned, set up public transport services on the basis of existing Community law which called for major investment, particularly from operators. These Member States thought that the duration of contracts should be extended and longer transitional periods provided for in order that a fair return on investment for the benefit of society at large might be guaranteed.

    The Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to continue the discussions with due regard for all the concerns expressed by the delegations.

    HORIZONTAL QUESTIONS

    • GALILEO project for a European satellite: Presidency conclusions

    The Council took note of the Commission communication of November 2000 and the conclusions of the Nice European Council calling on the Council to define the arrangements for the project.

    It confirmed that the deployment of the European Union's own satellite system was a political priority.

    The French Presidency hoped that, at its next meeting in April, the Council would be able to decide on the arrangements for the final transition to the development and validation stage of GALILEO.

    Meanwhile, there should be further discussions involving the Commission and the Member States on, in particular,

    • the interim management structure which will have to operate until a final structure, which will also need to be defined, is put in place;

    • the public-private partnership and, in particular, the actual mobilisation of private funding beyond the development stage;

    • progress towards a definition of the future services essential to the proper running of the programme on the basis of the three service levels proposed in the Commission report.

    MISCELLANEOUS

    • Rights of airline passengers

    The Council was informed of current progress as regards cooperation among air transport operators on an approach to improving the situation of airline passengers. It emphasised that voluntary undertakings between and among operators, which it expected would be firm, specific and verifiable, offered the best solution in this area.

    • Agreement with the CCEE establishing a Common Aviation Area

    The Council heard a report from the Commission on negotiations with the CCEE and Cyprus on the establishment of a European civil aviation area. It was informed that negotiations with most partner countries had ended on a positive note and that the Commission proposed to go ahead with initialling once the opinion which the Court of Justice had been requested to deliver on this Agreement had been handed down.

    • Flights over Siberia

    The Council was informed of developments regarding contacts with the Russian authorities on this subject and of moves by the Commission and EBRD member states to set up a Russian Aviation Modernisation Fund in order to improve the safety of the trans-Siberian route.

    • Safety of passenger vessels, employment and training of seafarers

    The Council noted the Commission's intention to forward a communication on seafarer training shortly. It also noted the Greek delegation's request calling for passenger vessel safety arrangements to be reinforced at European level.

    • White Paper on the common transport policy

    The Council welcomed the announcement by the Commission that it would shortly be submitting this White Paper, which should give a fresh boost to the transport policy on renewed bases in line with the developing requirements of civil society. The White Paper would focus fundamentally on: safety, respect for the environment and consideration of the social aspects.

    • Safety in tunnels

    This item was placed on the agenda at the instigation of the Presidency. The accidents in the Mont-Blanc tunnel and the Tauern tunnel in Austria and the recent accident involving a winter sports cablecar at Kaprun (also in Austria) bring the question of preventive measures into sharp focus. Following the accident in the Mont-Blanc tunnel, the Council called on the Commission to study further measures.

    • Green Paper on the security of supplies

    The Council took note of this Green Paper from the Commission. Submitted initially to the Industry/Energy Council, this document is also seen as important for the Transport Council in view of the effect of petrol prices on the transport sector.

    • Ecopoints for transit via Austria

    The Council took note of a statement by the Italian delegation asking urgently for the redistribution of unused ecopoints for the year 2000.

    ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

    TRANSPORT

    Directive on summer-time arrangements

    The Council, having approved the amendments to the proposal for a Directive on summer-time arrangements which were voted by the European Parliament at first reading, adopted the Directive as amended by the Parliament.

    It should be noted that, in view of the expiry of the 8th Directive on summer-time arrangements on 31 December 2001, the Commission submitted in June 2000 a proposal for the adoption by the end of the year of new arrangements from 2002. Summer-time arrangements, which have been maintained over the last twenty years or so, are renewed for an unspecified period and the last Sundays in March and October are the dates definitively adopted. The Commission will oversee the repercussions of the new Directive and will submit a report to the Council after five years.

    INDUSTRY

    Multiannual Programme for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

    The Council adopted a Decision on a Multiannual Programme for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, and in particular for SMEs (2001-2005). (See Press Pelease of 5 December 2000 14000/00 (Presse 466-G)).

    INTERNAL MARKET

    Aid granted under two former freight aid schemes for the island of Samsø

    The Council adopted a Decision with regard to aid granted under two former freight aid schemes for the island of Samsø.

    (1) 1st maritime package:Directive on inspection organisations;Directive on port State control;Regulation on the accelerated phasing out of single hull tankers.

    (2) The 2nd maritime package consists of measures concerning:a Directive establishing a Community monitoring, control and information system for maritime traffic;a Regulation on the establishment of a fund for the compensation of oil pollution damage in European waters, and related measures;a Regulation establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency.


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