REVISED REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK AND SERVICES 7
- Framework Directive 7
- Directive on access and interconnection 9
- Directive on authorisation 9
DIRECTIVE ON UNIVERSAL SERVICE AND USERS' RIGHTS 10
CREATION OF THE ".EU" TOP LEVEL DOMAIN 10
FURTHER OPENING TO COMPETITION OF COMMUNITY POSTAL SERVICES 11
ORGANISATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE INTERNET 12
LUNCH DISCUSSION ITEMS 13
- MARITIME SAFETY - ERIKA II PACKAGE 14
HORIZONTAL TRANSPORT ISSUES
- STRATEGY FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INTO THE TRANSPORT POLICY - Council Resolution 16
- GALILEO - Council Resolution 20
- ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN THE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANISATION (ICAO) - Council Conclusions 24
- EUROPEAN AVIATION SAFETY AGENCY (EASA) 27
- MONTREAL CONVENTION FOR AIR CARRIER LIABILITY 29
- PUBLIC SERVICE OBLIGATIONS IN PASSENGER TRANSPORT 31
- REGULATION ON A UNIFORM DRIVER ATTESTATION (THIRD COUNTRY DRIVERS) 33
- DIRECTIVE ON COMPULSORY USE OF SAFETY BELTS 34
- MAXIMUM PERMITTED BLOOD-ALCOHOL CONTENT (BAC) FOR DRIVERS OF MOTORISED VEHICLES - Council Conclusions 37
- DIRECTIVE ON MAXIMUM LENGTH OF BUSES 38
- TRANSIT OF GOODS BY ROAD THROUGH AUSTRIA / ECOPOINTS 39
LUNCH DISCUSSION ITEMS
- AVIATION 40
- WEEK-END BANS 40
- Training of professional drivers for the carriage of goods or passengers by road 41
- Inauguration of the new Athens airport 41
ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE
JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS
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The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:
REVISED REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK AND SERVICES
The Council reached political agreement on its common positions with a view to adopting three Directives included in the revised telecommunications regulation package. After the finalisation of the texts in all the Community languages, these common positions will be adopted formally by the Council and transmitted to the European Parliament for its second reading, in accordance with the provisions for the co-decision procedure of the Treaty.
The Council also recalled the Stockholm European Council Conclusions on radio spectrum policy which state that : "the Commission will work together with the Council towards a supportive policy framework for third-generation mobile communications within the Union, including agreement on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy as well as broadband networks.".
DIRECTIVE ON UNIVERSAL SERVICE AND USERS' RIGHTS
The Council took note of the progress made on this proposal and invited the Permanent Representatives Committee to pursue its work on this dossier, in the light of the forthcoming opinion of the European Parliament, and to present a report to the Council with a view to enabling it to reach agreement on a common position at its meeting on 27/28 June.
This Directive consolidates current provisions on universal service and users' rights. It does not provide for the universal service to be significantly extended but introduces a procedure for reviewing its scope. The Directive also sets out the users' rights (for example to operator assistance, access to directory services and number portability) and the measures to compensate suppliers of the universal service.
CREATION OF THE ".EU" TOP LEVEL DOMAIN
The Council took note of the state of play concerning the proposal for a Regulation on the ".eu" Top Level Domain. The Council asked the Permanent Representatives Committee to pursue the examination of this dossier, taking into account the forthcoming opinion of the European Parliament, and to forward to the Council a report allowing a speedy adoption of this draft Regulation.
FURTHER OPENING TO COMPETITION OF COMMUNITY POSTAL SERVICES
The Council took note of the information from the Presidency regarding the progress on this dossier. The Council invited the Permanent Representatives Committee to pursue actively the work on this proposal, in accordance with the mandate given by the Stockholm European Council, and present a draft enabling the Council to adopt its common position on this Directive at its next session on 27/28 June.
This proposal for a Directive amends existing Directive 97/67/EC on a number of points and provides for two further phases in the process of liberalising postal services.
The Commission proposal provides for a first phase, due to be implemented by 1 January 2003 at the latest, representing a further 20% liberalisation compared with the current Directive. Further measures, to be decided on in 2005, would take effect as of 1 January 2007. The main points of this proposal are, firstly, those applicable in 2003 the introduction of new definitions, the limits of 50g and 2,5 times the basic tariff in the case of the weight and price limits for reserved services and the liberalisation of outgoing cross-border mail and secondly the new phase proposed for 2004.
ORGANISATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE INTERNET
The Council took note of the information by the Commission on the international aspects of the organisation and management of the Internet.
This information was an update on the Commission's Communication "The organisation and management of the Internet, international and European policy issues 1998-2000", presented to the Council in April 2000.
LUNCH DISCUSSION ITEMS
Over lunch, Commissioner LIIKANEN reported to the Council on
- progress made in the opening of the access to the local loop since the entry into force (1st January 2001) of the Regulation regarding this issue ; and
- the Commission plans for a proposal for a comprehensive strategy and action plan for secure networks in the EU, which is expected to be discussed at the Council (Internal Market, Consumer Affairs and Tourism) on 5 June 2001.
The Council also took note of the information provided by Commissioner LIIKANEN on the following Communications :
- "eEurope 2002 : Impacts and priorities" ;
- "Creating a safer information society by improving the security of information infrastructures and combating computer-related crime : Europe 2002" ;
- "The introduction of third generation mobile communications systems in the European Union", which proposes action lines which could help easing the transition from 2G mobile systems to 3G. The measures relate to the improvement of the regulatory environment, tackling pending technical issues and supporting the development of innovative wireless applications and content offers as well as ensuring a continuous R&D effort in the sector at Community level.
The Council held a policy debate on the set of three Commission legislative proposals presented last December as a further answer to the concerns of maritime safety raised by the ERIKA accident a year before (ERIKA II package).
The first proposal for legislation concerns the monitoring, control and information of maritime traffic, which would contribute both to enhance maritime safety, prevent pollution from ships and facilitate search and rescue in the event of an accident.
The proposal on setting up a complementary fund for the compensation of oil pollution damage would increase the resources available for compensation if a major accident touches the European coasts.
The third proposal on a European Maritime Safety Agency is designed to assist Member States and the Commission with support in applying and monitoring compliance with Community law and in assessing the effectiveness of the measures in place.
The Ministers were asked to give political guidance for further works by answering the questions pertaining to the appropriateness of
- imposing ship reporting for all ships in all areas ;
- applying the December Council's decision to make black boxes compulsory on all ships either by seeking an agreement in IMO using a common approach of the Member States, or in developing, in parallel, these negotiations in IMO and a Community legislation ;
- raising the compensation limits of the international liability and compensation regime either within the IOPC regime using a common approach of the Member States or by complementing the international system with a top-up EU fund, possibly as a provisional measure pending adaptation of the existing IOPC regime ;
- creating a EU agency for maritime safety to help Member States and the Commission to further reinforce maritime safety, and, in the affirmative case, what tasks the Agency should be given the responsibility for and, considering said tasks, what adequate dimension and structure should be.
The Council recognised that efforts must be made to improve maritime safety with the aim of perceiving human life at sea and of protecting marine environment.
The Council invited the Permanent Representatives Committee to pursue the work on this package, to privilege discussion at the widest level without excluding solutions at the regional level. This includes the definition of common approaches on the issues to be dealt with at the level of the IMO and the reinforcement of EU co-ordination in this framework. The Council also noted that there was a broad support for a European Safety Agency and that its tasks and organisation need further examination.
The Council will return to this dossier at its next meeting on 27/28 June in the light of the preparatory work by the Permanent Representatives Committee.
HORIZONTAL TRANSPORT ISSUES
"Having regard to the treaty establishing the European Community, in particular Articles 2 and 6.
1. RECALLS the big step taken by the development of a strategy on the integration of environment and sustainable development into the transport policy decided by the Council 6th October 1999, which was a response to the request from the European Council in Cardiff and Vienna.
2. Confirms the commitment to achieve further progress towards sustainable transport based on the strategy.
3. REAFFIRMS the need for Member States to develop and implement integrated strategies in several areas of economic and social activities in order to promote sustainable transport.
4. RECALLS the considerable initiatives already underway to implement the strategy into EU transport policies as outlined in the Commission Staff Working Paper (1).
5. RECOGNISES, that there is a need for further action in order to attain a sustainable transport system defined as one that
allows the basic access and development needs of individuals, companies and societies to be met safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health, and promotes equity within and between successive generations;
is affordable, operates fairly and efficiently, offers choice of transport mode, and supports a competitive economy, as well as balanced regional development;
limits emissions and waste within the planet's ability to absorb them, uses renewable resources at or below their rates of generation, and, uses non-renewable resources at or below the rates of development of renewable substitutes while minimising the impact on the use of land and the generation of noise.
6 REITERATES its invitation to Member States and the Commission to promote, to the extent possible, the objectives mentioned above also within the framework of the relevant fora and international organisations dealing with transport.
7. EMPHASISES that integration of environmental aspects and progress towards a sustainable transport system can provide new business opportunities, bring social progress, stimulate economic growth and create new jobs without necessarily entailing traffic growth with an increase in the negative effects of transport.
8. AGREES with the objectives of reducing congestion, optimising the use of each mode of transport with a view to reversing the present unsustainable overall trend in the development of the modal split and thus achieving at least stability of the present modal split within ten years, even with further traffic growth. These objectives will form the platform to steer towards a larger share of the more environmentally friendly transport systems, thus ensuring safer, less congested, affordable transportation modes serving the citizens.
9. AGREES to give priority to those policies and measures responding in a balanced way to the demand for mobility, efficiency and respect of environment, in particular reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Kyoto commitments, reduction of particulates and other harmful substances and reduction of noise.
10. Recognises the need for packages of measures and policy instruments aiming at an accelerated and broad market introduction of clean, quieter and energy efficient technology and alternative fuels from renewable energy sources, a revival of public transport, a fair and efficient pricing regime including the environmental costs, an efficient use of the entire transport system including an increased use of environmentally less harmful means of transport and a consequent adaptation of the transport infrastructure.
11. RECOGNISES that the situations in various regions of the Community differ. Therefore there is a need for differentiated measures adapted to the specific regions. At the same time the Council is aware of the need for co-ordinated action with the aim to preserve the free movement of persons and goods and the achievements of the Internal Market.
12. REITERATES its invitation to applicant countries to follow the integration principle as it is being developed in the Community when formulating national and local strategies during the pre-accession period. The Applicant Countries are encouraged to allocate resources to maintain and develop their environmentally less harmful transport modes such as railways, inland waterways and maritime and public transport. During the pre-accession process, the allocation of funds to applicant countries could be linked, where possible, to the development of such modes.
13. INVITES THE COMMISSION to move forward on the following tasks prior to the next review.
Elaborate on the possible use of indicative long term and intermediate environmental targets for the transport sector on EU-level, taking into account the interaction with other sectors.
Further analyse how the strategy can be implemented in order to achieve a sustainable transport system that combines a high level of environmental quality with a stimulated economic growth, social sustainability, and the creation of business opportunities and new jobs. The analysis should take into account the development and impact of changes in transport in the context of EU enlargement.
Elaborate on a possible European strategy, including in the field of research and development, for an accelerated introduction of alternative fuels from renewable energy sources and clean, quieter and energy efficient concepts and technology in road, rail and inland waterways aiming at substantial market shares.
Promote and facilitate the use of market mechanisms and develop modern technical tools for collecting charges as provided for under a fair and efficient pricing regime including the environmental costs.
14. NOTES the Commission's intention to propose a Regulation to safeguard a continuous operation of the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM).
15. Agrees to continue to review the strategy regularly on the basis of reports from the Commission. The next review is to take place during the Danish presidency.
16. recognises the work by the Joint Expert Group on Transport and Environment and encourages their further support.
17. CALLS ON THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL TO
Recognise this resolution on transport and environment as an important input to the sustainable development strategy.
Invite other formations of the Council to contribute to the development of a sustainable transport system."
Following a debate on the tendering process and the work carried out by the Presidency on this important technological programme of the European Union,
"The Council of the European Union,
Considering that one of the strategic advantages of GALILEO is its contribution to the development of greater European cohesion,
refers to the conclusions by the European Council in Cologne, Feira, Nice and Stockholm,
draws attention to its Resolution of 16 November 2000 on a European space strategy, and to the ESA Resolution adopted on 20 December 2000 on the ESA's contribution to GALILEO,
points out that GALILEO is a civil programme under civil control,
considers it important for Europe to be independent in this field, in view of:
€? the considerable prospects offered by the use of that technology;
€? the risks involved in the dependence of numerous public and private activities on systems over which Europe can have no control;
€? the advantages that this system will have to offer as regards redundancy, interoperability, complementarity and guaranteed service;
emphasises that the project must be developed on the basis of a thorough analysis of costs and benefits,
agrees in principle on aiming for a fully operating system at the latest in 2008.
The Council agrees on the following arrangements that contain the necessary components for launching the development phase of the GALILEO project as the next step:
1. The Council agrees, under the conditions outlined in and on the basis of the Commission Communication of November 2000, that financing, will be provided approximately equally by Community appropriations and by the ESA. Financing up to 100 M€ for the year 2001 will be immediately released after this Resolution in compliance with the mechanisms of the Financial Regulation concerning the TEN. A decision on the release of the remaining (i.e. 450 M€) TEN's budget appropriations will be taken by the Council in December 2001 together with a decision to set up an entity in charge of the management of the project.
2. Effective political control of GALILEO and EGNOS by the Community and the Member States must be guaranteed on appropriate legal bases. The Commission, in close co-operation with the ESA, must guarantee the unicity of the administration and the financial control of the project. The involvement of users fora, non-member countries and private partners must be taken into account in its design. Practical arrangements should guarantee balanced participation by all Members States in all phases of the programme, so that it will have a truly European dimension.
The establishment of the above mentioned entity in charge of the project is eventually needed for the management, administration and the financial control of the project. The advantages and disadvantages of the following options will have to be analysed by the Council, be it a joint undertaking following art. 171 of the Treaty, an agency or any other suitable formula, in the light of the proposal the Commission is intending to present. The Commission, in close co-operation with ESA, will submit proposals for its statutes and, in particular, its organisation, its administration, its staff and its financing, to the Council at the earliest opportunity, and the Council will have to take a decision in December 2001.
As soon as possible a temporary management structure will be put into place by the Commission, in close co-operation with ESA, which will function until the establishment of the entity in charge of the project. This temporary structure will be made up of representatives of the Commission who will guarantee the general co-ordination of the programme and the European Space Agency which will guarantee the technical set-up. It will work in close co-operation with Member States through the European Space Agency's Navigation Programme Board and the Commission's GALILEO Steering Committee.
3. All phases of the programme development will be based on transparent and sound financial management. The European Council, at successive meetings, confirmed the aim of securing finance largely from private sources, lastly in its conclusions of Stockholm, stating that the private sector is required to take up the challenge with regard to participation in and financing of the project through a binding commitment for the deployment phase. Since private participation through a Public-Private Partnership is a fundamental element for the success of the GALILEO programme, the private sector must also be involved in the execution and operation of the project in order to maximise management efficiency and business opportunities and to incorporate private funds through fair risk sharing.
To that end, the Council invites the Commission;
- to draw up , in close co-operation with ESA a detailed definition initiative, a clear statement of missions requirements, such as performances at least equivalent to existing Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), optimised interoperability and redundancy with other systems, no common failure modes, integrity at all latitudes, compatibility with existing navigation systems, a continuity of service in crisis situations, compatibility with intellectual property rights mechanism by June 2001;
- to draw up a clear statement of project objectives in close co-operation with ESA, together with the ongoing independent consolidation of the Cost Benefit Analysis, resulting in a report to the Council by June 2001,
- to launch, as soon as possible, a tendering process giving a perspective of all the phases of the project in order to enable the longer term development of the private sector involvement in the project to identify the commercial and public services to be provided by GALILEO, to specify the revenue flows that they could generate and the accompanying measures required to bring this about. This will also help to clarify the conditions for the longer term commitment by the private sector. The result of the tender evaluation shall be available early in November 2001 to serve as a basis for a decision by the Council before the end of 2001. This decision shall also define the maximum available Community funds for the deployment and operational phases.(4) Subject to that decision, the entity in charge of the management of the GALILEO project shall take transparent and non-discriminatory measures necessary for the private sector to enter into a firm financial commitment allowing it to participate in the deployment phase before the end of 2003. The decision by the Council to launch the deployment phase will, as agreed by successive European Councils, require funding largely by the private sector; in this context, the Council notes the Commission's opinion that during the operational phase no contributions from Community funds will be required.
4. The preliminary definition of the services has to be endorsed by the Council in June 2001 as an important element of the initial tendering process. This definition should also enable the development of the Public Private partnership. The consolidation and final selection of the services, after having consulted the relevant users fora, will be carried out to define the requirements to be met, the perimeter, the characteristics, the cost and the conditions of financing. The Council will take a decision not later than the end of 2003 on service options in conjunction with a decision to enter the deployment phase, taking into account the outcome of the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC).
5. The security of GALILEO is an important element of the programme. It must guarantee not only the continuity of service required in certain application fields, such as those affecting the safety of human life, but also those linked to access restrictions or even access denials decided by civil authorities in crisis situations. The related questions of legal responsibility must be clearly specified. A preliminary definition of the system's required level of security and the related cost will have to be submitted to the Council for examination and decided no later than end 2001 following the advice of the Galileo Steering Committee (GSC) and the Galileo System Security Board (GSSB).
6. Arrangements for the protection of personal privacy and liberties against misuse linked with the use of localisation data produced by the system must be defined and integrated into the detailed definition of the project.
7. The Galileo system will be designed so that it provides homogeneous services over the entire territory of the Member States of the Union, including the northern latitudes, by means of satellites in medium earth orbit. The optimal integration of EGNOS (5) into the GALILEO programme must be effected in close collaboration with the EOIG (6) in accordance with a transition programme that will be completed around 2015. To that end a detailed proposal concerning the technical, operational, financial and institutional aspects of that integration will have to be submitted by the interested parties as soon as possible. As long as necessary separate financial arrangements for GALILEO and EGNOS have to be implemented.
8. The compatibility and interoperability of GALILEO and the other satellite radio navigation systems (GPS and GLONASS) must be insured at user level in order to offer a better and more robust service at world level by means of redundancy. The discussions begun with the United States and Russia should be intensified with a view to reaching a satisfactory agreement as soon as possible.
9. The Council encourages the continuation, under its political control, of the contacts with non-member States that are interested in contributing to the development of GALILEO.
10. Active preparations must be made for WRC 2003 in order to consolidate the achievements of WRC 2000 by establishing the appropriate common approach for the GALILEO spectrum.
11. The progress of the programme will be the subject of annual reports by the Commission to the Council. The first such report will be submitted to the Council in December 2001."
1. Having regard to the Commission communication(7) of 11 December 2000 which presents its view on the Community objectives for the 33rd ICAO Assembly and for the ICAO Council related to this Assembly in the field of aviation environmental protection.
2. Having regard to the outcome of the Fifth meeting of ICAO's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP/5) held on 8 17 January 2001.
Recalling that CAEP makes recommendations for new environmental rules and standards to the ICAO Council, and that the formal adoption of technical standards falls within the powers of the ICAO Council.
4. Taking into account that the ICAO Colloquium on Environmental Aspects of Aviation, which will be held 9-11 April 2001, to inform non-CAEP members of relevant developments within CAEP, will be another important event in the follow-up to CAEP/5 in preparation for the ICAO Assembly.
5. While recognising that ICAO is the most appropriate international forum to seek adequate solutions and that it will be an essential aim of the Community that ICAO policies on noise and gaseous emissions do not inhibit the fulfilment of Member States and Community environmental needs and obligations.
6. WELCOMES, the recommendation of CAEP for a new noise certification standard and for procedures for re-certification of existing aircraft to this standard as an important first step.
7. RECOGNISES, that studies conducted by CAEP showed significant regional differences in the problems caused by aircraft noise and notes that the new noise certification standard on its own would not be sufficient to solve these problems in regions such as Europe.
8. NOTES that CAEP has also identified noise abatement operational procedures and land-use planning as two important elements of a balanced approach to reducing noise, but recognises that the benefits from these factors have already been achieved in the Community as they are widely applied at most noise impacted Community airports.
9. UNDERLINES the willingness to seek an agreement, in the framework of ICAO, which would allow for those States or regions with pressing environmental needs to take action to mitigate environmental noise impacts and to apply restrictions on the operations of aircraft that meet Chapter 3 standards by a small compliance margin,
10. RE-AFFIRMS its readiness to take account of the specific situation of operators from developing countries, aiming to seek the best solution. The Council requests the Commission to analyse the economic, environmental and competitive impact of implementing regional flexibility under different scenarios and to report to the Council.
11. AGREES, in order to ensure sufficient noise relief in the medium and long term, that is also essential that ICAO agree on a new long term design standard based on revised certification procedures which more accurately assess the capabilities of modern aircraft.
12. WELCOMES the recommendations of CAEP 5 related to market based measures to limit or reduce the gaseous emissions of aviation. EMPHASISES that market based measures should be pursued within ICAO and that the 33rd Assembly should agree on the need for policy action and further development of practical guidance on the use of voluntary mechanisms and gaseous emissions related levies as soon as possible, as well as on emissions trading in an open system as a longer term target. Negotiations should ensure that the ICAO Assembly adopts a Resolution facilitating action by Contracting States to fulfil their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
13. EMPHASISES the need for further work in ICAO to identify emissions parameters at all phases of flight, and requests that the Commission and Member States work towards adoption in ICAO of more stringent standards for emissions other than CO2 at all phases of flight by 2004. Further, because most newly designed aircraft engines already meet the highest ICAO NOx standard, requests the Commission to report on the potential environmental benefits and economic costs of encouraging the use of engines compliant with the most recent ICAO standard on NOx within the EU.
14. EMPHASISES, in order to present the European concerns in the most effective way, the need for a common and co-ordinated approach in the run up to and at the 33rd ICAO Assembly, to which the European Community will participate, as an observer, together with Member States."
Following the conclusions of the Council on 20 December 2000, the Council held a policy debate on certain aspects regarding the establishment of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Noting that work is to be continued on several issues, the Presidency brought to the attention of the Council for political guidance three questions, which concerned
- the scope of the Regulation, i.e. whether the Regulation should cover all aircraft registered in Member States, irrespective of where and by whom they are used, except when there is an agreement on transfer of oversight responsibilities, or whether it should also cover aircraft registered in third countries and using Community airspace when operated by Community operators, and also address, and if so in which respect, such aircraft when operated by third country operators ;
- the power of designation, i.e. should the Executive Director and members of the Boards of Appeal be designated by the Administrative Board of the agency as proposed by the Commission or by the Council ;
- the objectives and broad modalities and of the inspections of Member States, in order to attain the goals of the Regulation, and the relevant corresponding legal protection which should be inserted in the Regulation.
The Presidency summed up the debate by stating that
- aviation safety is a vitally important issue,
- there was a broad agreement that the scope of the Regulation should cover:
= firstly, aircraft registered in Member States, irrespective of where and by whom they are operated, except when there is a specific agreement on transfer of oversight responsibilities ;
= secondly, aircraft operated by Community carriers in the airspace of Member States, even if registered in third countries, covering in particular the instructions of temporary leasing.
Experts will have to pursue the work in order to further clarify the situation concerning the acceptance in the Community of third country aircraft which is a matter covered by the Chicago Convention.
- The appointment of the Executive Director by the Administrative Board of the Agency, as proposed by the Commission, was largely supported ; as to the appointment of members of the Boards of Appeal, a number of delegations considered premature to define the appointment procedure which will need further examination.
- Concerning the inspections, it emerged from the debate that it is necessary to include inspections of Member States authorities and investigations of undertakings in the Regulation, so as to ensure high and uniform level of implementation of safety requirements. The experts will have to formulate the corresponding provisions in an appropriate way so as to strike a best balance between the inspection power and the necessary protection for the bodies subject to such inspections.
The Council adopted the Decision on the conclusion of the Montreal Convention by the Community and approved the Council Conclusions on the ratification process. It also took note of the progress report concerning the implementing regulation.
Council conclusions :
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
(1) RECALLS the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, done at Montreal on 28 May 1999 (Montreal Convention), which is intended to replace the 1929 Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air and its amending, supplementary and additional instruments (Warsaw System),
(2) WELCOMES the Montreal Convention, and the phasing out of the Warsaw System, as major and urgent steps for the international aviation in general and in particular to promote the rights of air passengers,
(3) DESIRES the rapid entry into force and wide international application of the Montreal Convention and therefore welcomes all steps taken towards ratification by ICAO member States,
(4) IS AWARE that the Montreal Convention will enter into force after the thirtieth ratification has been deposited,
(5) TAKES INTO ACCOUNT that the Community and most Member States have signed the Montreal Convention,
(6) NOTES that the Commission has already presented proposals for a Council Decision on the approval by the European Community of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention) and for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents,
(7) BELIEVES that the ratification by the Community and the Member States will be of importance for the entry into force of the Montreal Convention,
(8) CONFIRMS its view that the deposit of the instruments of ratification by Member States and the Community should take place simultaneously at a date to be co-ordinated,
(9) DESIRES, in relation to timing, that the Montreal Convention, when in force, becomes applicable simultaneously throughout the Community,
(10) RECOMMENDS Member States to ratify the Montreal Convention as soon as their national constitutional requirements permit, with the aim of co-ordinated deposition of instruments no later than 31 December 2002,
(11) ENCOURAGES Member States to apply to carriage covered neither by Regulation 2027/97 nor by the Montreal or Warsaw Conventions at least the same level of air passenger protection as according to the Montreal Convention,
(12) INVITES Member States to report on the progress of the ratification process."
The Council held a policy debate on some key aspects regarding the proposal for a 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.
It is recalled that last December, the Transport Council held an initial policy debate on this proposal on the basis of a number of selected key questions. These questions concerned the link between the proposed regulation and the "Railway package", the treatment of integrated services under the new regime, the role of competent authorities in the awarding of contracts and the social dimension of the proposed arrangements. In concluding this debate the Council instructed the Permanent Representatives to continue the discussions with due regard for all the concerns expressed by delegations.
The Ministers were invited to focus on
- quality requirements : the responsibility of public authorities,
- mechanisms for competition : "lighter" tendering procedure,
- mechanisms for competition : general rules and financial compensation,
- rules for tendering, and
- protection of employees.
Delegations generally agreed that competent public authorities should aim to provide adequate public passenger transport services. For some of these delegations the corresponding framework has to be defined, at least to a certain extent, by Member States themselves. Some delegations argued in favour of an obligation to be imposed on competent authorities with respect to the provision of adequate services. Furthermore, there was agreement among delegations that it was important to observe quality criteria when assessing the adequacy of a public transport policy. A few of these delegations would like to make the compliance with such quality criteria an obligation.
All delegations agreed that the protection of the basic rights of employees deserves careful attention in the framework of the Regulation. However, it was noted that the right balance between the protection of workers' rights, and the freedom of the transport operator to run its business in the most effective and efficient way, must be struck. Several delegations expressed their sympathy for the use of a "light tendering procedure", it being understood that such a procedure would be carried out on a transparent and non-discriminatory basis. Views differed however with regard to the scope of such a procedure.
Delegations agreed that a maximum duration for public passenger transport contracts of five years, as proposed by the Commission, will in many cases prove to be too short. For many of these delegations, due account should be taken of parameters such as investment when defining the duration of contracts. There was no unanimity on the question whether post-tender negotiations should be allowed or not. Furthermore, opinions were divided on the question whether an enterprise which enters a bid for a tender should already have a valid transport operator licence.
Concerning the financial compensation for compliance with general rules laid down by authorities, a large majority of delegations felt that the limit for financial compensation should either be higher than the proposed 20% of the value of the transport operator's services, or be removed altogether. On tariff limitations for passengers, a majority was of the opinion that the scope of categories of passengers which potentially could be covered, should be as large as possible.
The Council arrived at a common orientation on the proposal for a regulation on certain rules concerning checks on drivers hired by road hauliers established in the European Union for intra-Community transport operations using Community vehicles (third country drivers). This common orientation should be understood as a preliminary agreement by the Council, in the absence of the opinion of the European Parliament, which will serve as a basis for informal contacts with the Parliament in the context of the co-decision procedure.
The draft Regulation's aim is to avoid social dumping when third countries drivers are employed in the Community. This is ensured by the delivery of a Community driver attestation which certifies that the driver is legally employed in accordance with provisions in force in the host Member State.
The Council held a policy debate on a proposal for a directive amending Directive 91/671/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the compulsory use of safety belts in vehicles of less than 3,5 tonnes. The Council, having noted the need for further in-depth discussions on this technically complex and sensitive proposal, instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to pursue the work on this dossier with a view to enabling the Council, pending the Opinion of the European Parliament, to revert to this file on a common orientation at its next meeting on 27/28 June.
This proposal makes provision in particular for
- compulsory use of safety belts by drivers and passengers of all motor vehicles fitted with them ;
- compulsory use of child-restraint systems for small children.
It also forbids children to be transported using a rearward-facing child-restraint system in a front passenger seat protected by a front airbag unless the airbag has been de-activated.
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
1. BEARING IN MIND the Council Resolution of 26 June 2000 on increased road safety (8), in which the Council recalled that the adoption of measures to increase transport safety is an explicit objective of the Common Transport Policy, as set out in the Treaty, and in which the Council:
- emphasised that it was essential to bring forward some measures in the field of road safety,
- in relation to drinking and driving, agreed on the need to have a Recommendation concerning the problem of driving under the influence of alcohol, encouraging Member States to consider, inter alia, the adoption of a maximum blood-alcohol level of 0,5 mg/ml for drivers, without prejudice to the establishment of lower general maximum limits or lower maximum limits for specific categories of drivers.
2. TAKES NOTE OF the Commission Recommendation of 17 January 2001 on the maximum permitted blood-alcohol content (BAC) for drivers of motorised vehicles.
3. RECOGNISES that this Recommendation constitutes a useful contribution to the on-going debate in Member States and to the consideration of measures which the Member States might take.
4. TAKES NOTE OF the Commission opinion that a more uniform BAC limit within the Community would send a clearer and more consistent message to drivers of vehicles that it is dangerous to drive after drinking and would provide a clearer reference for national enforcement.
5. NOTES that some Member States take the view that matters regarding maximum permitted BAC come under the principle of subsidiarity and should therefore be regulated at national level.
6. TAKES NOTE of the European Parliament's Resolution of 18 January 2001 on priorities in EU road safety, in which the Parliament reaffirmed its support for the existing proposal for a maximum common BAC level at 0,5 mg/ml, called on Member States to enforce compliance with BAC limits more strictly, reaffirmed the need for provisions for standardisation of apparatus for testing alcohol levels and expressed its support for alcohol interlock devices.
7. STATES that all scientific and statistical data within and beyond the Community clearly demonstrate that the impact of alcohol on drivers of motorised vehicles is an important contributing factor to the occurrence of accidents, especially fatal accidents. The scientific literature also clearly demonstrates that even at BAC levels under 0,5 mg/ml driver performance can be impaired.
8. AGREES that it cannot be ignored that at least 25% of all driver fatalities in the Community occur in accidents in which illegal levels of alcohol are detected in drivers. These accidents account for about 6 500 drink drivers killed on EU roads annually. In addition, another 3 500 sober drivers and other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, are also killed in these accidents. This provides the basis for an estimate of 10 000 deaths annually in accidents involving illegal levels of alcohol on EU roads.
9. NOTES that in some Member States, through their respective Road Safety programmes, significant results in this field have been achieved by a package of measures embracing increased enforcement, penalties, rehabilitation, driver training, and publicity campaigns.
10. RECOGNISES that stricter rules on consumption of alcohol when driving motor vehicles must be accepted and supported by the majority of the population in a Member State for them to be effective and produce concrete and lasting effects.
11. SHARES the Commission view that driving performance can be impaired by a number of other factors in addition to alcohol consumption, such as fatigue, the legal or illegal use of medicines and drugs, that these factors are not mutually exclusive and in combination can increase accident risk to a much higher level than from consuming alcohol alone. It also considers that the number of persons driving under the influence of drugs and/or medicinal products is increasing at a very alarming rate. The necessary research in this field must, therefore, continue.
12. IS AWARE that in some instances the combination of alcohol consumption and driving motor vehicles can be a symptom of a health problem and points to the measures which can be taken within the framework of the future programme of Community action in the field of public health (20012006) (9),
HAS ADOPTED THE FOLLOWING CONCLUSIONS:
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
WELCOMES the fact that the various measures mentioned in the Commission Recommendation have been referred to the Member States for scrutiny;
ENCOURAGES Member States to consider carefully all these measures, and especially to improve the effectiveness of enforcement to deter drivers from drinking alcohol before driving, and to supply and co-ordinate the use of all alcohol-related road accident data and data on other tests carried out to detect illegal BAC in drivers;
CALLS UPON the Commission to:
continue and accelerate work on the problem of drink-driving;
monitor closely and evaluate the effects of its Recommendation for a period of three years, paying specific attention to the proposals in the Recommendation on legal blood-alcohol content (BAC);
continue assessment of the road safety problem arising from the increasing use of drugs and medicines, paying particular attention to the link between consumption level and accident risk and continuing assessment of best practice for detecting impairment due to the use of illegal or legal medicines and drugs;
continue work on the harmonisation of the degree of accuracy of measurements of the quantity of alcohol present in breath;
continue research into the development and assessment of testing devices to detect drugs and medicines during road checks."
The Council reached political agreement, the Danish delegation expressing its intention to vote against, on its common position regarding an amendment to Directive 96/53/EC laying down for certain road vehicles circulating within the Community the maximum authorised dimensions in national and international traffic and the maximum authorised weights. After the finalisation of the text by the Permanent Representatives Committee, the common position will be formally adopted and transmitted to the European Parliament for its second reading, in accordance with the co-decision procedure.
The draft Directive is designed to harmonise the maximum authorised length of buses and to amend their manoeuvrability criteria with a view in particular to allowing their free movement and ensuring the efficient working of cabotage in the passenger sector. It provides for a maximum authorised length of 13,50m for buses with two axles, 15m for buses with more than two axles, and 18,75m for buses with trailers.
Vice-President DE PALACIO presented to the Council a report on the system of ecopoints for heavy goods vehicles transiting through Austria, together with a related proposal.
This report contains a scientific study which shows that the objective of a reduction of pollution of 60% by the end of 2000 has not been completely achieved. Hence, the Commission
- concludes that the system of ecopoints should be continued for the last 3 years of the transition period (i.e. until 31.12.2003). This continuation occurs ipso facto in view of the relevant provision of the Protocol No 9 ;
- tables a legislative proposal which eliminates the 108% safeguard clause, which it feels penalises road hauliers which have undertaken great efforts to reduce pollution.
The Council took note of this report as well as of interventions of delegations.
LUNCH DISCUSSION ITEMS
ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE
(Decisions for which statements for the Council minutes have been made available to the public are indicated by asterisks; the statements in question may be obtained from the Press Office.)
Checks on the transport of dangerous goods by road
The Council adopted the Directive amending Directive 95/50/EC on uniform procedures for checks on the transport of dangerous goods by road.
The Directive aims:
to take into account the latest adaptations to scientific and technical progress to Council Directive 94/55/EC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States with regard to the transport of dangerous goods by road,
to set up a procedure identical to the one already established in said Directive, in order to allow the Committee on the transport of dangerous goods to implement simultaneously adaptations to scientific and technical progress into both Directives.
The Council approved recommendations for a decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations for bilateral trade concessions for fish and fishery products within the framework of the existing Association Agreements.
The Council adopted a Decision concerning the conclusion of an Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Community and the Republic of Chile adding a Protocol on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters to the Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Chile, of the other part.
Hungary, Czech Republic
The Council adopted decisions on the conclusion of additional Protocols to the Europe Agreements establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States and the Republic of Hungary as well as the Czech Republic on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products.
These Protocols provide for:
It is recalled that these protocols have been negotiated by the Commission on the basis of negotiating directives set by the Council on 21 September 1992 and of the decision adopted by the Council in June 1997 issuing guidelines to the Commission for the negotiation of European Conformity Assessment Agreements with Central and Eastern European countries.
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The Council adopted a Decision on the signing on behalf of the European Community of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The draft Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was initialled by the negotiating parties on 24 November 2000 at the Zagreb Summit and is due to be signed in Luxembourg on 9 April 2001.
The Council adopted a Decision on the signature of an Agreement on Mutual Recognition between the European Community and Japan (see Press Release, doc. 7588/01 - Presse 132).
JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS
Action Plan on drugs between the EU and Central Asia
The Council endorsed an Action Plan on drugs between the EU and the four Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan. The Action Plan recognises the need for a comprehensive EU initiative in the field of drugs as stated by the Dublin and Vienna European Councils by providing a framework between the European Union and the four aforementioned Central Asian states in order to more effectively tackle the drugs problem.
The co-operation shall be based on:
In this framework, specific activities under this plan might include:
Turkey - control of drug precursors
The Council adopted a Decision concerning the negotiation of an agreement with Turkey on the control of drug precursors.
Technical measures for protection of juveniles of marine organisms
The Council adopted the regulation amending Regulation (EC) N° 850/98 of March 1998 for the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for protection of juveniles of marine organisms. This regulation aims at clarifying and correcting Regulation (EC) N° 850/98 and contains thirteen specific amendments.
Agreement with Russia
The Council adopted the Decision to authorise the Commission to negotiate a Fisheries Cooperation Agreement with the Russian Federation.
Fisheries agreement with Côte d'Ivoire
The Council adopted the Regulation on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out for the period 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2003 the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire on fishing off the coast of Côte d'Ivoire.
Fisheries agreement with Equatorial Guinea
The Council adopted the Regulation on the conclusion of the Protocol establishing for the period 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001 the fishing rights and financial compensation provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea on fishing off the coast of Equatorial Guinea.
Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution - Protocol on Heavy Metals *
The Council adopted a Decision whereby the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Heavy Metals, which was signed in Aarhus on 24 June 1998, is approved on behalf of the European Community. The text of the Protocol is attached to the Decision.
The Protocol aims at controlling emissions of heavy metals caused by human activities that are subject to long-range transboundary atmospheric transport and that are likely to have significant adverse effects on human health or the environment. The Protocol stipulates the reduction of total annual emissions of cadmium, lead and mercury into the atmosphere, and the application of product control measures.
Committee of the Regions
The Council adopted the Decision appointing Mr Hans NIESSL a member of the Committee of the Regions, in place of Mr Karl STIX for the remainder of the latter's term of office, which runs until 25 January 2002.
(1) 7511/01 TRANS 53 ENER 41 ENV 154 ("Integrating Environment and Sustainable Development into Energy and Transport policies: Review Report 2001 and Implementation of the Strategies").
(2) Doc. 14304/00 AVIATION 48.
(3) OJ C 221 of 3.08.99, p.1.
(4) No Member State shall be obliged to contribute through additional national funds.
(5)EGNOS: European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System.
(6)EOIG: EGNOS Operators and Infrastructure Group.
(7)Doc. 14701/00 AVIATION 63
(8) OJ C 218, 31.7.2000, p. 1.
(9)8756/00 SAN 47 CODEC 469 [COM(2000) 285 final].