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C/02/176

2438th Council meeting

- TRANSPORT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS -

Luxembourg, 17 and 18 June 2002

President :

Mr Francisco ÁLVAREZ-CASCOS FERNÁNDEZ

Minister for Internal Development

Ms Ana María BIRULÉS y BERTRÁN

Minister for Science and Technology

of the Kingdom of Spain

CONTENTS (1)

PARTICIPANTS 4

ITEMS DISCUSSED

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
Mr Rik DAEMSMinister for Telecommunications and Public Undertakings, with responsibility for Small and Medium-Sized Business, the Liberal Professions and the Self-Employed
Denmark :
Mr Flemming HANSENMinister for Transport
Ms Helga SANDERMinister for Science, Technology and Development
Germany :
Mr Kurt BODEWIGFederal Minister for Transport, Building and Housing
Mr Alfred TACKEState Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
Greece :
Mr Christos VERELISMinister for Transport and Communications
Mr Georgios ANOMERITISMinister for Merchant Shipping
Mr Spyros VOUGIASState Secretary for Transport and Communications
Spain :
Mr Francisco ÁLVAREZ-CASCOS FERNÁNDEZMinister for Internal Development
Ms Ana María BIRULÉS y BERTRÁNMinister for Science and Technology
Mr Baudilio TOMÉ MUGURUZAState Secretary for Telecommunications and the Information Society
Mr Adolfo MENÉNDEZ MENÉNDEZUnder-Secretary of State for Internal Development
France :
Mr Gilles de ROBIENMinister for Infrastructure, Transport, Housing, Tourism and the Sea
Ireland :
Mr James BRENNANDeputy Permanent Representative
Italy :
Mr Pietro LUNARDIMinister for Infrastructure and Transport
Mr Laurizio GASPARRIMinister for Communications
Mr Lucio STANCAMinister for Portfolio, with responsibility for innovation and technology
Luxembourg :
Mr Henri GRETHENMinister for Transport
Mr François BILTGENMinister with responsibility for communications
Netherlands :
Ms Tineke NETELENBOSMinister for Communications and Public Works
Ms Monique DE VRIESState Secretary for Communications and Public Works
Austria :
Mr Mathias REICHHOLDFederal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology
Portugal :
Mr Luis VALENTE de OLIVEIRAMinister for Public Works, Transport and Housing
Ms Dulce FRANCODeputy State Secretary at the Ministry of Economics
Finland :
Mr Kimmo SASIMinister for Transport and Communications

Sweden :

Mr Björn ROSENGRENMinister for Industry, Employment and Communications
Ms Gun ERIKSSONState Secretary for Industry, Employment and Communications
United Kingdom :
Mr John SPELLARMinister of State for Transport
Mr Stephen TIMMSMinister of State for e-Commerce and Competition
* * *
Commission :
Ms Loyola DE PALACIOVice-President
Mr Erkki LIIKANENMember
TRANSPORT

MARITIME TRANSPORT

MARITIME SAFETY STANDARDS FOR PASSENGER SHIPS

Pending the Opinion of the European Parliament at first reading, the Council arrived at a general approach on two draft Directives on maritime safety, relating firstly to specific stability requirements for ro-ro passenger ships, and secondly to the amendment of Directive 98/18/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships. The Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to examine the European Parliament's Opinion as soon as it became available so that the Council could adopt a common position.

The aim of the first text is to establish stability requirements for roll-on/roll-off passenger vessels and to extend the technical requirements laid down in the Stockholm Agreement to all European waters. The aim of the second is to tighten up and simplify the provisions in force since March 1998, particularly by setting a timetable for phasing out older vessels or those that do not comply with the requirements.

PORT SERVICES

The Council reached political agreement by a qualified majority, with the Swedish delegation voting against, on a draft Directive aimed at ensuring freedom to provide port services with a view to improving their quality and reducing their cost. A common position will be adopted at a forthcoming Council meeting after the text has been finalised so that it can be sent to the European Parliament for a second reading under the codecision procedure.

The compromise achieved in the Council relates in particular to the maximum duration of authorisations granted to service providers, and more specifically to:

     the maximum duration of authorisations for providers of port services (10, 15 or 36 years, depending on whether the services to be supplied involve either no significant investment, or investment in moveable or immovable assets, with the possibility of extending an existing authorisation for ten years under certain circumstances);

     transitional measures, including the possibility of restricting existing authorisations for new ports or parts of ports to a maximum of 40 years.

It should also be noted that the draft Directive does not in any way affect the application of national legislation, in particular social and employment legislation.

The text aims to balance the implementation of the general principles of the Treaty with the complex reality of the port sector, while limiting the number of providers of port services and taking into account each port's specific characteristics. It sets rules to guarantee clear and transparent procedures for the selection of service providers in ports open to commercial traffic.

HORIZONTAL ISSUES

FREIGHT TRANSPORT ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE

MARCO POLO PROGRAMME

The Council examined the proposal for a Regulation aimed at establishing a financial instrument to encourage the shift from freight transport to other modes of transport less harmful for the environment, paying particular attention to issues such as the overall budget and minimum subsidy thresholds for the various categories of action. At the close of the discussion, the Council agreed to come back to this matter when the European Parliament had given its Opinion at first reading under the codecision procedure.

The purpose of the proposal is to encourage a shift of freight transport to short-sea shipping, rail or inland waterway. It follows up the PACT programme (Pilot Actions for Combined Transport, 1997-2001) and would cover the period 2003-2010.

WHITE PAPER ON TRANSPORT POLICY FOR 2010

Presidency conclusions

"On the basis of the work carried out during the Belgian Presidency, the debate held within the Council on 26 March on various aspects of the White Paper, and the conclusions of the Göteborg and Barcelona European Councils, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union:

    Recognises that it was appropriate to draw up the White Paper, in view of the development of the transport system in the EU and the need to guarantee its activity in the context of the final consolidation of the single market and of balanced and sustainable development. However, it considers that the necessary considerations should be incorporated for its application, in order to take account of the diversity of geographical, regional, economic and social situations in the Member States of the current and the enlarged European Union;

    Considers that the objectives proposed in the White Paper require very varied approaches, which would improve and/or promote safety in the various modes of transport including social aspects related thereto, the quality of services for users inter alia by reducing the levels of congestion, and would achieve greater transparency for operators and a real incorporation of concerns of general interest;

    Considers that the rebalancing of transport modes, as set out in the White Paper, should result in a combination of various measures whose central aim is to promote the most favourable modes of transport from an environmental viewpoint and in terms of economic efficiency. To that end, the Commission is invited to continue improving the knowledge of the relative efficiency of the different transport modes. In developing a sustainable transport system, the environmental performance of all transport modes and their component elements should be improved either with policy measures and/or by accelerating the application of new technologies;

    Takes note of the fact that the examination of the proposal regarding the revision of the TENs guidelines is currently under way, and that the Commission intends to present a proposal for a new revision in 2004; expresses its full support for the development of the trans-European networks, placing particular emphasis on the need to eliminate bottlenecks, ensure the permeability of natural barriers, and make better use of existing infrastructures, and underscores the need to complete the priority projects envisaged by the Essen and Dublin European Councils. The Presidency expresses its concern at the existing financial difficulties, and would welcome further proposals from the Commission for promoting the involvement of private capital for carrying out projects;

    Notes with interest the Commission's intention of submitting a proposal for a Framework Directive on charging for the use of infrastructure for all modes of transport;

    Considers that the application of the "pooling of funds" analysed in the White Paper as a new and innovative possibility for funding infrastructures still gives rise to serious concerns for some Member States, yet is seen by other Member States as a new and interesting concept to explore, and could be applied by Member States on a voluntary basis whilst respecting the principles of non-discrimination and proportionality; invites therefore the Commission and the Member States to study further this new funding system whilst taking into account the costs already borne by infrastructure users;

    Shares the Commission's objective of improving the safety of transport in general and sets itself the goal of substantially reducing road mortalities by 2010. It emphasises the importance of enhancing safety in tunnels and for vulnerable users, welcomes further efforts by the Commission in the area of transport safety including appropriate progress in social harmonisation and its enforcement in the road transport sector. It invites the Commission to come forward with measures known to have tangible results, notably non-legislative initiatives, in order to reach this ambitious objective. Such measures involve promoting the development and application of new technologies and measures aimed at further improving the safety of the transport of dangerous goods. It also emphasises the important role that Member States and the Community must play, by collaborating in the enforcement of laws affecting important road safety issues, the promotion of better driving behaviour and the implementation of safer road design;

    Acknowledges the need to develop further road transport infrastructure where other modes cannot provide a realistic alternative on the basis of an objective analysis;

    Concurs with the White Paper regarding the need to continue the legislative processes for the revitalisation of railways and subscribes in particular to the objective of further promoting rail freight traffic. Undertakes thus, on the basis of a report by the Commission on the operation of the first railway package, to pursue work on the whole of the second package, which includes, inter alia, interoperability and high safety standards, as stated in the Barcelona European Council Conclusions and taking also into account paragraphs 36 and 42 of those Conclusions;

    Endorses the series of initiatives regarding the promotion of short-sea shipping and inland navigation, in order to improve their capacity and positive environmental impact. Of these measures, it agrees to bring to the forefront those relating to facilitating intermodal linking and cooperation between ports, and to the improvement of current administrative practices - including customs procedures - and the environmental performance of the sector;

    Notes the importance of Community accession to eurocontrol and undertakes actively to pursue work before the end of 2002 on the package of Commission proposals so that the decisions can be taken to bring about a Single Sky in 2004;

    Underlines the importance of continuing the efforts in the transport sector with a view to contributing to meeting the obligations stemming from the recent ratification of the Kyoto Procotol by the European Community and the Member States; welcomes in this perspective the adoption of the 6th Environmental Action Programme.

    The Presidency of the Council of the European Union is pleased to note that the Commission has already put forward a number of proposals and invites the Commission to take the above considerations into account in further legislative or other initiatives that it might undertake with a view to developing the guidelines contained in the White Paper."

DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRANS-EUROPEAN TRANSPORT NETWORK

The Council examined the proposal for amending Decision No 1692/96/EC laying down Community guidelines for the development of trans-European transport networks. Discussion focused in particular on the adaptation of the environmental priorities and assessments and on the list of specific projects for the implementation of which the Community was providing financial assistance. The Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to continue examining the proposal so that it could take a position on it at a forthcoming meeting.

The purpose of the proposal is to effect an initial revision of the current guidelines, which date back to 1996. It covers a transitional period up to 2004. A new Commission proposal will be presented at that time so as to make it possible to draw up new plans for the period 2020-2025 and also to take account of the Union's enlargement.

It should be noted that the 1996 Decision gives the list of specific projects drawn up at the Essen European Council in that year and of the plans and criteria for identifying projects of common interest with a time horizon of 2010.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS ACCESSION BY THE COMMUNITY

  • International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)

  • International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

Vice-President DE PALACIO outlined to the Council the main points of two Recommendations aimed at authorising the Commission to open and conduct negotiations on the conditions and arrangements for accession by the Community to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to start examining these proposals.

The Commission considers that the time has come to regularise the Community's participation in the ICAO and the IMO. Given the considerable legislative corpus that has accrued over the last ten years or so in the area of air and sea transport, the Commission believes that its full participation in these two organisations should enable the Community to fulfil its obligations better and ensure coherence between Community law and international law.

AVIATION

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL CREATION OF THE "SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY"

"Conclusions of the Presidency:

  • The Council took note of the work carried out under the Spanish Presidency on the development of the Single European Sky.

  • Following an exchange of views by delegations, the Presidency noted the support of Member States for making the Single European Sky a reality within the deadlines given in the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council.

  • In that regard, the accession of the Community to EUROCONTROL, on which political agreement has been achieved at this Council, constitutes an important advance towards achieving a Single European Sky.

  • The Presidency noted that there was a broad majority in support of the guidelines presented on the basis of the work carried out on key elements of the set of Single Sky Regulations. These elements are the following:

(a) date for bringing the Single Sky into force;

    (b) the application of economic regulation;

    (c) the functions and procedure of the Single Sky Committee;

    (d) relationship with EUROCONTROL;

    (e) cooperation with the military authorities; and

    (f) organisation and use of airspace.

  • These guidelines, which are given in the Annex, should constitute a sound basis for guiding future work on these proposals.

    GUIDELINES REGARDING THE CREATION OF THE SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY:

    1. Target date

      The work on the package of Commission proposals should be pursued actively before the end of 2002 so that the decisions can be taken to bring about a Single European Sky in 2004. Before the end of 2004, the main accompanying measures at Community and national level should also have been adopted, so that the regulatory framework necessary for the operation of the Single European Sky will be in force by that date.

      2. Application of economic regulation

      Member States have the exclusive competence to designate their air traffic service providers. These providers maintain a natural monopoly and should, unlike ancillary services, not be subject to competition. By reason of their monopoly situation, air traffic services should be subject to rules and review, in order to reflect the general interest and users' needs.

      The feasibility of the operation of ancillary services in a market environment should be examined on the basis of the intrinsic features of these services.

      Providers of both air traffic services and ancillary services should comply with certain essential standards, including those on safety, which should be harmonised at Community level and constitute requirements for issuing certifications to allow mutual recognition.

      3. Single Sky Committee

      The Commission should be assisted by a committee, the "Single Sky Committee", in the implementation of the Regulations creating the Single European Sky. The choice of procedural matters for the adoption of implementing measures should be defined on a case-by-case basis in the specific Regulations in accordance with the relevant Council Decision (1999/468/EC). It is understood that the "regulatory procedure" should be the usual working procedure.

      While appointing their representatives to the Single Sky Committee, Member States should be aware that the Single European Sky needs effective integration of military expertise.

      The internal rules of procedure of the Single Sky Committee should establish the way in which European and third countries linked by an agreement with the Community in the aviation area are associated to its work, and in which Eurocontrol can be consulted as appropriate.

      4. Relationship with Eurocontrol

      Eurocontrol has technical knowledge and expertise from which the Community should benefit as much as possible.

      The imminent accession of the Community to Eurocontrol will create the framework for synergies between the Community and Eurocontrol to develop. As a result of this accession, the Community will need to respect the obligations stemming from Eurocontrol membership, which should contribute to avoid overlap.

      The right of initiative of the Commission should not be called into question. In this light, when drafting implementing rules for the specific Regulations, the Commission should base itself on the approach developed within Eurocontrol and endeavour as much as possible to obtain the technical basis for these rules from Eurocontrol, for subjects where this organisation has relevant expertise.

    5. Military issues

       In order to arrive at an efficient use of airspace, inter alia based on implementation of the flexible use of airspace concept, and since decisions regarding civil matters could also affect military responsibilities, the military should be associated to the creation and operation of the Single European Sky.

       For a successful operation of the Single European Sky, effective cooperation between the military authorities of the Member States is of utmost importance. Moreover, there should be an effective means by which the military can be involved in the creation of the Single European Sky and by which the results of the said cooperation between the military authorities can be expressed in the decision-making process of the Single European Sky.

      No measure to be established in the context of the Single European Sky should stand in the way of defence or territorial surveillance imperatives or affect the power of Member States to manage their armed forces.

      Provisions shall be created within the appropriate bodies to respond to the needs that armed forces might have as a result of the creation of the Single European Sky.

    6. Organisation and use of airspace

      The concept of the Single European Sky should be supported by the establishment of functional airspace blocks regardless of national borders, depending on initiatives taken and agreed upon by all Member States concerned.

      In liaison with Eurocontrol and air traffic service providers, precise criteria and working methods should be developed with respect to the reconfiguration of upper airspace, in particular with respect to the creation of the functional airspace blocks.

      In general, the harmonisation of the conditions under which air navigation services are provided is an essential element for the successful operation of the Single European Sky.

      Finally, the concept of the Single European Sky will be implemented first in the upper airspace. In the light of progress achieved, it will at a later stage be extended to the lower airspace."

    OCCURRENCE REPORTING IN CIVIL AVIATION

    The Council unanimously adopted, albeit without the agreement of the Commission on one specific point, a common position on the draft Directive aimed at improving air safety by collecting reports on occurrences which could have caused accidents (8133/02). This common position will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading under the codecision procedure.

    The text is one of the dossiers whose adoption was made possible thanks to the understanding reached between Spain and the United Kingdom in their dispute concerning Gibraltar airport.

    In accordance with the draft Directive, the information collected will be stored in databases that enable it to be exchanged between Member States subject to confidentiality criteria. It will then be analysed and the necessary conclusions drawn with a view to improving safety.

    STATISTICAL RETURNS IN RESPECT OF CARRIAGE OF PASSENGERS, FREIGHT AND MAIL BY AIR

    The Council reached political agreement on the draft Regulation on statistical returns in respect of the carriage of passengers, freight and mail by air. A common position will be adopted at a future Council meeting once the text is finalised and will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading under the codecision procedure.

    The draft is one of the dossiers whose adoption was made possible thanks to the understanding reached between Spain and the United Kingdom in their dispute over Gibraltar airport.

    The text provides for the collection by Member States of specific statistics to provide the Community with reliable information to serve as a statistical base for developing a Community policy in the aviation sphere.

    AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL ACCESSION OF THE COMMUNITY TO EUROCONTROL

    The Council reached political agreement on the proposal for a Decision on the signature by the Community of the Protocol of Accession of the Community to the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) and its provisional application (9771/02). The Decision's formal adoption at a future Council meeting will enable a signing ceremony to be held at a diplomatic conference.

    This is one of the dossiers which can now be adopted thanks to the understanding reached between Spain and the United Kingdom in their dispute over Gibraltar airport.

    The proposal forms part of the overall strategy for the creation of a Single European Sky. The Community's accession to Eurocontrol a body created by international convention on 13 December 1960 has as its objective to increase effectiveness and consistency in extremely sensitive areas such as air traffic control.

    It should be remembered that, in July 1998, the Council authorised the Commission to open negotiations with the Contracting Parties to Eurocontrol on an Accession Protocol under Article 40 of the revised Eurocontrol Convention. Provisional application of that revised Convention and of the Accession Protocol requires procedures to be established inasmuch as areas under Community competence are involved. As a result, it is anticipated that, in these areas, the Commission will present the Community's position and will vote on the Community's behalf.

    PROTECTION AGAINST SUBSIDISATION AND UNFAIR PRICING PRACTICES IN THIRD COUNTRIES

    The Council heard a presentation from Vice-President DE PALACIO on the proposal for a Regulation protecting Community airlines against subsidisation and unfair pricing practices in certain third countries and asked the Permanent Representatives Committee  to begin examining it.

    The proposal aims to allow the Community to take measures against certain countries' airlines which receive subsidies or resort to what are seen as unfair pricing practices. The measures provided for would take the form of taxes to be levied on those carriers receiving direct subsidies or other advantages from their governments.

    AVIATION INSURANCE

    Vice-President DE PALACIO briefed Ministers on the Commission's intentions faced with the United States' decision to extend its system of support to the aviation sector introduced following the terrorist attacks of 11 September. They were also informed about progress to date on setting up a mutual insurance system to assist airlines.

    In the light of the discussions, the Presidency drew the following conclusions:

    • Any solution should be subject to conditions under which the commercial market is not unnecessarily restricted and government exposure is limited as much as possible. Under these conditions it is considered that mutualisation schemes should be thoroughly assessed.

    • The Commission is invited to analyse the AEA initiatives and ICAO's proposals in detail with a view to making the necessary proposals to the next Council meeting for a common approach by Member States, within the limits of applicable competition and state aid rules."

    It will be recalled that, at its meeting on 25 and 26 March of this year, the Council took note of the Commission's intention to continue authorising any aid notified to it by Member States, on the existing terms and for the same period as planned by the United States. Following a further extension by the United States of the public cover of risks for airlines in connection with war and terrorism, including the possibility of a further two-month extension, the Commission had followed a parallel approach.

    At the same time the European aviation associations were continuing to set up a mutualisation fund ("Eurotimes") which would intervene in the event of damages of between EUR 50 and 1 000 million. This fund would be financed inter alia by the airlines, by airports, by businesses operating in the sector and by travellers.

    It should be noted that the Commission had reported to Ministers on the state of play as regards aviation insurance at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council's lunch on 4 June.

    LAND TRANSPORT

    USE OF SAFETY BELTS

    The Council reached political agreement on the draft Directive on the use of safety belts and child-restraint systems in vehicles. A common position will be adopted at a future meeting after finalisation of the text with a view to forwarding it to the European Parliament for a second reading under the codecision procedure.

    The aim is to amend Directive 91/671/EEC so as to improve road safety, in particular for children. The Directive will in future cover all vehicles for the transport of persons (category M) and goods (category N), as well as all passengers.

    Under the text, in order to deal with particular situations Member States will be able to grant national exemptions in addition to those laid down at Community level. Depending on the case, these could be either permanent or temporary. This would involve in particular a temporary exemption, limited to a maximum of five years, for school buses and a temporary exemption, limited to a maximum of six years, for situations where the number of persons sitting in seats other than front seats in private vehicles is greater than the number of seat belts or restraint systems fitted (so-called "large families" exemption). Member States would be obliged to take the necessary steps to ensure that the national exemptions were not abused.

    As regards the safety of children under 3 years of age in coaches, it would be for the Member States to chose the arrangements to apply pending the introduction of an appropriate Community regime.

    ALPINE TRANSIT TRAFFIC

    • General questions regarding the crossing of the Alps

    • System of ecopoints in Austria

    The Council examined the general problem of the transit of heavy goods vehicles over the Alps and the proposal for a Regulation establishing an ecopoint system applicable to heavy goods vehicles travelling through Austria for the year 2004. It took note of delegations' positions and of the intention expressed by the Member States most concerned by such problems, namely Germany, Italy and Austria, to hold negotiations at the highest level in July so as so facilitate further discussions at Council level.

    The ecopoints system in force, which is designed to minimise the environmental damage resulting from heavy goods traffic through Austria, was introduced by Austria's Act of Accession as a temporary measure and is due to expire on 31 December 2003. In 2000 the Commission prepared an initial proposal on the ecopoints system up to its expiry in 2003. Subsequently, the Laeken European Council on 14 and 15 December 2001 asked the Commission to submit a proposal provisionally extending the system in force; this second proposal was the one submitted to the Council at this meeting.

    TELECOMMUNICATIONS

    ELECTRONIC INTERCHANGE OF DATA BETWEEN ADMINISTRATIONS (IDA)

    The Council reached political agreement on the updating of the second phase of the programme, under way since 1999, to promote the establishment and use of trans-European networks for the electronic interchange of data between administrations (IDA), accepting all the amendments adopted by the European Parliament at first reading (9667/02). It will proceed with definitive adoption when the texts have been finalised.

    The aim of the programme is to facilitate the interchange of data in order, inter alia, to support the implementation of Community policies. The updating concerns two proposals designed to amend:

    • Decision No 1719/1999/EC on a series of guidelines, including the identification of projects  of common interest, for IDA networks;

    • Decision No 1720/1999/EC adopting a series of actions and measures in order to ensure interoperability of and access to IDA networks.

    The amendments concern:

    • introducing a financial reference for the period 2002-2004, namely EUR 39,8 million for the  "guidelines" Decision and EUR 34,2 million for the "interoperability" Decision;

    • extending the programme to certain non-Community countries;

    • taking account of new initiatives such as the eEurope Action Plan;

    • adapting the committee procedure to the new rules on the subject (introduced by Decision No 1999/468/EC).

    TRANS-EUROPEAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS

    The Council adopted a Decision revising the guidelines which have been in force since 1997 for the trans-European telecommunications networks, accepting all the amendments adopted by the European Parliament at first reading (3632/02).

    The amendments to the current guidelines take account of a special report from the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the Decision, plus an external evaluation, technological progress since 1997 and the expertise gained through management of the programme. These amendments concern inter alia the trans-European dimension of the projects concerned, the strategic priorities of the eEurope Action Plan, reduction of the number of areas covered by the projects, the deployment of public services and the interconnection and interoperability of the networks.

    INTERNET ILLEGAL AND HARMFUL CONTENT

    The Council laid down general guidelines, pending the Opinion of the European Parliament, on the draft Decision extending for two further years the 1999-2002 action plan on safer use of the Internet by combating illegal and harmful content on global networks. It asked the Presidency to forward these guidelines informally to the European Parliament, with a view to reaching a possible agreement at first reading.

    The text is intended to network the various national initiatives in the field, increase coordination with other Community initiatives on the subject and augment the current Action Plan with specific provisions to associate the countries which are candidates for accession to the Union. It also aims to adapt the Action Plan to new Internet technologies and Internet platforms and services allowing a wider range of online content, and to put into practice the lessons learnt since the beginning of the programme. The budget provision for the two additional years is EUR 13,3 million, which is in line with the existing programme budget.

    MIGRATION TO THE NEW INTERNET PROTOCOL IPv6 Council Conclusions

    "THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

    Having regard to the eEurope 2002 Action Plan, endorsed by the Santa Maria da Feira European Council in June 2000, which aims to ensure that all EU citizens, businesses, schools and public administrations can participate in the opportunities provided by the Information Society,

    Whereas:

      The European Council of March 2002 attached priority to the widespread availability and use of broadband networks throughout the Union by 2005 and the development of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6);

      As indicated by the Commission in its Communication of March 2001 in relation to 3G (2) services, any delay in the transition to all-IPv6 networks, which will require several years of effort, risks hindering the deployment of advanced service features at a later stage;

      The Commission, in its Communication of 21 February 2002 (3), focused on the priorities for action in migrating to IPv6 and stressed the need for a concerted effort by all stakeholders, such as the economic and industrial sectors likely to be impacted by IPv6, including consumer organisations, research institutions, and independent data protection authorities as well as representatives of national or regional IPv6 councils and the candidate countries.

    Bearing in mind that:

      (1) The expanding market for services and terminals will inevitably place increased demand for more IP addresses and that there is a risk at some point in the future of the global IPv4 address space becoming exhausted;

      (2) Appropriate actions are needed to maintain widespread availability of sufficient internet addresses,, thereby contributing to meeting the objectives of the Lisbon European Council on economic reform;

      (3) The increased Internet IP address space, as offered by IPv6, is expected to provide opportunities for industry to introduce many innovative Internet services and applications;

      (4) The rapid uptake of new information society tools and technologies through appropriate awareness-raising campaigns, training and education programmes, needs to be further promoted;

      (5) The current research effort on IPv6 needs to be sustained, in particular to ensure a rapid availability of required standards and specifications;

      (6) The operational experience in next generation national and regional research networks and their integration in European wide networks needs to be increased;

      (7) The need will arise to develop IPv6 transition and integration guidelines that will recognise that the coexistence of IPv4 and IPv6 will last many years.

    Therefore:

    1. STRESSES the need to remove obstacles to facilitate the transition to IPv6.

    2. ENCOURAGES the Member States:

    • To facilitate the efforts of stakeholders regarding the adoption and the deployment of IPv6, for instance through awareness-raising campaigns;

    • To facilitate, inter alia by enabling IPv6, the integration of research networks with European-wide networks (e.g. GEANT);

    • To monitor and assess the current development and take-up of IPv6, including the definition of guidelines and dissemination of best practice related to the transition towards IPv6, in cooperation with the private sector and standardisation bodies.

    3. WELCOMES the Commission's intention to support RTD in the context of the 6th Framework programme related to the deployment of IPv6 in fixed and wireless network infrastructures and in advanced infrastructures for Research (e.g. GEANT and Grids);

    4. SUPPORTS the Commission's intention to renew the mandate of the IPv6 Task Force by:

    • Enhancing cooperation with international standardisation organisations, industry  associations and Internet Governance bodies;

    • Providing a review and "European IPv6 Roadmap" on the development and future perspectives of IPv6, including guidelines for transition from IPv4 to IPv6;

    • Establishing collaboration arrangements and working relationships with similar initiatives being launched in other regions of the world.

    5. INVITES the Commission to:

    • Evaluate the social impact on society, citizens and businesses of the implementation of IPv6;

    • Investigate security issues related to IPv6.

    6. INVITES the private sector:

    • To consider initiatives aimed at the integration of IPv6 infrastructures, including the interoperability aspects of IPv6 services and applications;

    • To participate actively in the establishment of a European wide, vendor-independent, training and education programme on IPv6;

    • To provide regularly updated information on the increased demand for IP addresses and the current status of IP4 address space;

    • To actively contribute towards on-going IPv6 work within standards and specification bodies;

    • To fully participate in R&D activities in the context of the 6th Framework Programme, notably in the large scale tests of IPv6 based services and applications."

    eEUROPE 2005 ACTION PLAN Presidency Conclusions

    The Council held a policy debate on the aims, the approach and the methods proposed by the Commission for the implementation of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan.

    At the end of the debate the Presidency drew the following conclusions, which will be forwarded to the Seville European Council to be held on 21 and 22 June 2002:

    "The Transport/Telecommunications Council, at its meeting on 17/18 June, held a policy debate in the light of the above Communication. At the end of discussions, the President drew the following conclusions:

    The Council:

       recalled the Lisbon conclusions setting out the strategic goal to become by 2010 the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and agreeing a strategy stressing inter alia the need to prepare the transition to a competitive, dynamic and knowledge-based economy;

       noted the significant progress made under the eEurope 2002 Action Plan, as endorsed by the European Council in Santa Maria da Feira, in strengthening and speeding up the development of the Information Society in Europe;

       concurs with the Presidency conclusions of the Barcelona European Council that further progress is needed in this area through the establishment of a further Action Plan to last until 2005, thus demonstrating that the successful development of the Information Society remains a key political priority of the European Union;

       therefore welcomes the Communication from the Commission "eEurope 2005: An information society for all An Action Plan to be presented in view of the Seville European Council" and generally endorses the objectives and the approach set out in the proposed Action Plan, as well as the fact that provision has been made for a mid-term review, where adaptations or additions to the Plan could be made;

       considers that, in view of the complexity and broad coverage of the Plan, the Council, meeting in its appropriate formations, should look prior to the Plan's entry into force on 1 January 2003 at specific Actions proposed in order to examine their feasibility, their financial implications and how they could best be implemented."

    INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT OF THE INTERNET AND ICANN REFORM

    On the basis of information from the Commission, the Council reviewed ongoing discussions on the international management of the Internet and ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) reform. It was also presented with guidelines for the coordination of Member States' positions with a view to the ICANN's General Advisory Committee (GAC) meeting in Bucharest from 24 to 26 June.

    Delegations' contributions related in particular to the need to further clarify ICANN's mission, to strengthen the role and effectiveness of the GAC, among other things by the establishment of a specific secretariat.

    It should be noted that, in its Resolution of 30 October 2000, the Council invited the Member States to consult one another with a view to establishing common positions to be adopted within the international fora concerned and, thus, achieving a genuine globalisation of Internet management, at its meeting on 25 and 26 March. It instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to coordinate Member States' positions in due time; the guidelines forwarded to the Council for information were drawn up on the basis of those instructions.

    COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION OF PUBLIC SECTOR DOCUMENTS

    The Council heard Commissioner LIIKANEN's presentation of the proposal for a Directive removing the obstacles arising from differences between Member States' rules and practices regarding the reuse and exploitation of public sector documents and instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to begin examination of its content.

    This proposal is part of the action planned in the Commission communication entitled "eEurope 2002: creating an EU framework for the exploitation of public sector documents", submitted to the Council at its meeting on 6 and 7 December of last year.

    THIRD GENERATION (3G) MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS

    The Council heard Commissioner LIIKANEN's presentation of the Commission communication entitled "Towards the full roll-out of third-generation mobile communications" and proceeded to discuss the matter.

    Delegations stressed the possibilities opened up by the new regulatory framework for telecommunications to ensure a stable legal environment and more consistency as regards the granting of licences and the allocation of frequencies.

    The communication is in response to a request made by the Barcelona European Council at its meeting on 15 and 16 March.

    FOLLOW-UP TO THE BARCELONA CONCLUSIONS

    • OPEN PLATFORMS

    • ELECTRONIC IDENTIFICATION SYSTEMS

    The Council was informed by Commissioner LIIKANEN of the Commission's follow-up to the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council meeting on 15 and 16 March regarding open platforms in the field of digital television and third generation (3G) mobile communications and national electronic identification and authentication systems.

    With regard to open platforms, the Commissioner announced the Commission's intention to adopt a communication before the Copenhagen European Council on 12 and 13 December.

    TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATIONS PACKAGE

    • REFORM OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATIONS

      The Council was informed by Commissioner LIIKANEN of the state of play regarding certain flanking measures essential to implementation of the reform of telecommunications regulations.

      These involve:

       a recommendation regarding the relevant product and service contracts,

       market analysis and market strength assessment guidelines,

         the establishment of a group of representatives from regulating authorities to advise the Commission on the package's implementation,

         the establishment of a high-level experts' group to handle questions in connection with the radio frequency spectrum.

    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE CONTRACTS

      The Council was informed by Commissioner LIIKANEN of the state of play regarding the draft Commission Directive on competition in the electronic communications services market.

      This draft Directive is based on Article 86(3) of the Treaty, which grants the Commission exclusive power, where necessary, to adopt directives for the application of competition rules. Its adoption by the Commission is planned for the end of July.

    OTHER BUSINESS

    • PRIVATISATION OF EUTELSAT

      The Council was informed by the Commission of the state of play regarding the privatisation of the satellite telecommunications services operator (Eutelstat).

    • MARITIME SAFETY

      The Council was informed by Vice-President DE PALACIO of discussions under way within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), following the attacks of 11 September 2001, aimed at strengthening the legal and technical measures in place at international level designed to forestall and prevent acts of terrorism against ships and in ports. It was agreed to pursue and reinforce coordination of the positions of the Member States and the Commission with a view to a diplomatic conference scheduled for December which should adopt new measures.

    • GALILEO

       The Council was informed by Vice-President DE PALACIO of contacts with a number of non-member States which have shown an interest in taking part in the GALILEO satellite radio-navigation programme.

    ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

    The documents whose references are given are available on the Council's Internet site http://ue.eu.int. Acts adopted with statements for the Council minutes which may be released to the public are indicated by an asterisk; these statements may be obtained by following the procedure indicated above or from the Press Office.

    TRANSPORT

    Aviation European Aviation Safety Agency

    The Council adopted the Regulation on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency, agreeing to all the amendments adopted by the European Parliament at second reading (7731/02).

    The aim of the Regulation is to ensure a high and uniform level of civil aviation safety in Europe. The European Agency will be responsible for certifying aeronautical products by ensuring that they meet safety and airworthiness requirements on the basis of common standards and procedures. In order to ensure the pan-European nature of the certification procedure, a specific provision will allow European third states to sign up to the Agency.

    The Agency will also be called upon to guarantee the application of fixed environmental standards for aeronautical equipment, to facilitate freedom of movement and to assist the Member States in meeting their international obligations. It will also help to promote Community positions on civil aviation safety standards and rules on a worldwide basis, through appropriate forms of cooperation with third countries and international organisations.

    INTERNAL MARKET

    ECSC

    The Council adopted the Regulation on the prolongation of the ECSC steel statistics system after the expiry of the ECSC Treaty on 23 July, until 31 December 2002 (3629/02).

    Under this Regulation undertakings engaged in the production of iron and steel are required to keep supplying the Commission with statistics.

    AGRICULTURE

    Plants

    The Council adopted a Decision extending the periods of validity of checks on selected plant varieties in certain third countries (9475/02).

    (1) Where declarations, conclusions or resolutions have been formally adopted by the Council, this is indicated in the heading for the item concerned and the text is placed between quotation marks.

    (2) COM(2001) 141 final.

    (3)COM (2002) 96 final.


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