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COUNCIL OF
THE EUROPEAN UNION

EN

C/05/251

Luxembourg, 6 October 2005

12803/05 (Presse 251)

PRESS RELEASE

2680th Council Meeting
Transport, Telecommunications and Energy
Transport
Luxembourg, 6 October 2005

President Mr Alistair Darling
Secretary of State for Transport
of the United Kingdom

Main Results of the Council
The Council unanimously agreed on a general approach on Community rules aimed at protecting persons with reduced mobility travelling by air against discrimination and at ensuring they receive appropriate assistance.
Without debate, the Council adopted:
  • a Directive on enhancing port security.
  • a Directive on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their re-usability, recyclability and recoverability.
  • a Common Position extending Common Position 2004/694/CFSP on further measures in support of the effective implementation of the mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

CONTENTS1

PARTICIPANTS 5

ITEMS DEBATED

LAND TRANSPORT 7

– Market access for rail passenger services 7

AVIATION 7

– EU-US Aviation 7

– External relations policy with other third countries 8

– Rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air 8

OTHER BUSINESS 9

– "Life-long learning for Road Safety" Ministerial Conference in Verona 9

– Impact on road transport of the rise in the price of fuel 9

– Aviation Safety following recent accidents 9

– Civil aviation security 9

– Revised State-aid guidelines in the aviation sector 9

– GALILEO Programme 10

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

TRANSPORT

Port security * 11

EXTERNAL RELATIONS

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia – Freezing of assets 11

TRADE POLICY

Anti-dumping - China and India - Polyethylene terephthalate; magnesia bricks 11

INTERNAL MARKET

Vehicles - Recyclability and recoverability 12

AGRICULTURE

Tobacco - Common organisation of the market 12

FISHERIES

Collection of fisheries data 12

EU/Comoros - Protocol on tuna fishing * 12

ENVIRONMENT

Waste from extractive industries 13

TRANSPARENCY

Public access to documents 13

PARTICIPANTS

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

Belgium:

Mr Renaat LANDUYT Minister for Mobility

Czech Republic:

Ms Daniela KOVALČIKOVÁ Deputy Minister for Transport (Legislation, Policy and EU Affairs Department)

Denmark:

Mr Flemming HANSEN Minister for Transport and Energy

Germany:

Mr Manfred STOLPE Federal Minister for Transport, Building, and Housing

Estonia:

Mr Tiit NABER Deputy Permanent Representative

Greece:

Mr Mihail-Georgios LIAPIS Minister for Transport and Communications

Spain:

Ms Magdalena ÁLVAREZ ARZA Minister for Internal Development

France:

Mr Dominique PERBEN Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, Tourism and the Sea

Ireland:

Mr Martin CULLEN Minister for Transport

Italy:

Mr Pietro LUNARDI Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

Cyprus:

Mr Haris THRASSOU Minister for Communications and Works

Latvia:

M. Vigo LEGZDIŅŠ State Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Communications

Lithuania:

Mr Petras Povilas ČĖSNA Minister of Transport and Communications

Luxembourg:

Mr Lucien LUX Minister for Environment, Minister for Transport

Hungary:

Mr Egon DIENES-OEHM Permanent Representative

Malta:

Mr Jesmond MUGLIETT Minister for Urban Development and Roads

Netherlands:

Mr Henne SCHUWER Deputy Permanent Representative

Austria:

Mr Helmut KUKACKA State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology

Poland:

Mr Krzysztof OPAWSKI Minister for Infrastructure

Portugal:

Ms Ana Paula VITORINO State Secretary for Transport

Slovenia:

Mr Janez BOŽIČ Minister for Transport

Slovakia:

Mr Juraj NOCIAR Deputy Permanent Representative

Finland:

Ms Susanna HUOVINEN Minister for Transport and Communications

Sweden:

Mr Jonas BJELFVENSTAM State Secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications

United Kingdom:

Mr Alistar DARLING Secretary of State for Transport and Secretary of State for Scotland

Mr Stephen LADYMAN Minister of State for Transport

Commission:

Mr Jacques BARROT Vice-President

The Governments of the Acceding States were represented as follows:

Bulgaria:

Mr Peter MUTAFCHIEV Minister for Transport

Romania:

Mr Septimiu BUZASU State Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Constructions and Tourism

ITEMS DEBATED

LAND TRANSPORT

  • Market access for rail passenger services

The Council held an exchange of views on the proposal for a Directive on market access for international rail passenger services (Rail Market Access proposal) and its link with the revised proposal for a Regulation on public passenger transport services by rail and by road (Public Service Obligations proposal). The Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to consider, in light of the results of this exchange of views, both the Rail Market Access proposal and the relevant aspects of the proposal on Public Service Obligations with a view to enabling the Council to arrive, if possible, at a political agreement on its common position on the Rail Market Access proposal at its December session.

The Rail Market Access proposal was submitted by the Commission on 8 March 2004[1] with a view to opening up the market for international rail passenger services, including cabotage - that is picking up and setting down passengers on an international train in the same Member State - in 2010.

The Commission adopted the Public Service Obligations proposal on 20 July 2005 in view of the development of an increasingly competitive market for inland transport services. The Commission proposes a new regulatory framework which aims at making the award of exclusive rights and the granting of compensation in return for public service obligations more transparent. The current proposal is a revision of two earlier Commission proposals on the same subject, an initial proposal of 2000 and an amended proposal of 2002.

A large majority of Member States expressed the view that opening the market for international rail passenger services would contribute to more attractive and competitive services. Furthermore, broad support was given to the principle to limit the right of access in order to safeguard public services.

AVIATION

  • EU-US Aviation

The Commission informed the Council of the current state of play in its informal contacts with the United States Administration, following which a number of delegations intervened.

The President summarised the results of the exchange of views as follows:

"The Council welcomed the progress reported by the Commission in its informal talks with the United States. Whilst recognising that there could be no guarantee of success, Ministers were unanimous in their support for a prompt resumption of formal negotiations, judging that conditions were now in place for making progress towards an agreement with the US at substantial mutual benefit. Such an agreement could be staged, provided there was a commitment to completion, and would need to deliver real benefits for both sides. The Commission had the Council's full support and the Presidency would work closely and urgently with the Commission to achieve a result."

  • External relations policy with other third countries

The Council took note of the information provided by Commission Vice-President, Jacques Barrot, on the latest developments concerning the Community's external aviation policy, in particular on progress regarding China and Russia, but also with regard to neighbouring countries and the ongoing process of bringing Member States' bilateral agreements into line with Community law.

  • Rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air

In public debate, the Council unanimously agreed a general approach on the proposal for a Regulation concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air, pending the European Parliament's opinion in first reading.

The proposal, which was adopted by the Commission in February 2005, forms part of the overall policy aimed at strengthening passenger rights in the European Union. It prohibits air carriers, their agents and tour operators from refusing, on the grounds of disability or of reduced mobility to accept a reservation for a flight, or to embark a disabled person or a person with reduced mobility at an airport. In addition, it grants disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility the right to specified assistance at airports and on board aircraft without additional charge.

The key features of the draft Regulation as amended by the Council are:

  • Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility shall not be refused air transport on grounds of their disability or reduced mobility, except for justified safety reasons or because it is physically impossible to embark such persons, for instance due to the size of the aircraft doors. In case of refusal to embark, the persons concerned will be offered the opportunity to rebook on another flight at no additional cost, or, if this is not possible, will be offered reimbursement of the costs of the ticket.
  • Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility will be given assistance at airports and on board aircraft if they inform the airline of their specific needs a reasonable time in advance. If insufficient notice is given, the airport will still be required to make its best efforts to provide the assistance.
  • The most difficult issue to reach agreement on was the question of who should be responsible for providing the assistance to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility at airports. The Council finally agreed that the managing bodies of airports should have the overall responsibility for providing such assistance; the managing bodies may provide the assistance themselves or, in keeping with this responsibility, may contract with one or more parties, such as air carriers, for supplying the assistance. The managing bodies may recover the costs for the assistance from the airlines. Assistance on board will remain the airlines' responsibility.
  • At airports whose annual traffic is 150 000 commercial passenger movements or more, the managing body of an airport will set quality standards for the assistance specified in the Regulation and determine resource requirements for meeting them, in cooperation with airlines and organisations representing disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility. Such standards will take into account internationally recognised policies and codes of conduct concerning the facilitation of transport of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.
  • A disabled person or person with reduced mobility who considers that this Regulation has been infringed should bring the matter to the attention of the managing body of the airport or to the attention of the air carrier concerned, as the case may be. If the disabled person or person with reduced mobility cannot obtain satisfaction in such way, he/she may make a complaint to the body or bodies designated by the relevant Member State to that effect.

OTHER BUSINESS

  • "Life-long learning for Road Safety" Ministerial Conference in Verona

The Council took note of the information provided by the Italian delegation on the next Conference of Ministers for Transport of the EU "Life-long learning for Road Safety", which will be held in Verona in 4-5 November 2005. The third Verona Conference will consider lifelong learning for road safety as an instrument to improve the effectiveness of human behaviour, programmes, interventions and, above all, results. Four areas have been identified for Ministers' deliberations: lifelong learning for road safety by the next generation, by current users of our roads and by disadvantaged users, and the division of tasks needed to build up the importance of road safety.

  • Impact on road transport of the rise in the price of fuel

The Council took note of the note submitted by the French delegation concerning the impact on road transport of the rise in the price of fuel. To avoid a disruptive effect on the European market or distortions of competition, France called upon the Commission to bring forward proposals for

  • a more harmonised approach to cabotage in order to preclude different interpretations by the Member States of Council Regulation (EEC) No 3118/93,
  • the possibility to introduce price review clauses in transport contracts in order to take into account variations in the price of fuel, and
  • for an alignment of the level of excise duties applicable to professional diesel in order to create fair and equitable conditions for Community hauliers.

In his response, Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot indicated that:

  • the Commission is currently preparing a proposal on excise duties applicable to professional users of diesel fuel establishing minimum and maximum taxation rates,
  • a reflection within his services is taking place on a possible proposal for a Regulation with minimal price review clauses that could be inserted in transport contracts in order to take into account variations in the price of fuel,
  • a consultation is being held on the way a clean-vehicle market could be created throughout the European Union.
  • Aviation Safety following recent accidents

The Council was briefed by Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot on the latest developments for enhancing air safety following accidents during the last summer.

  • Civil aviation security

The Council took note of the information provided by Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot on the effectiveness of Regulation (EC) 2320/02 on civil aviation security adopted in the wake of the events of 11 September 2001. Following an annual report on its implementation, the Commission proposed on 22 September to revise this Regulation. The objective of a new Regulation is to clarify, simplify and harmonise further the legal requirements with the aim of enhancing overall security in civil aviation. It would notably extend Community competence to cover in-flight security measures and air traffic from third countries.

  • Revised State-aid guidelines in the aviation sector

The Council took note of the information provided by Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot on the revised State-aid guidelines in the aviation sector adopted by the Commission on 6 September 2005. Following a wide-ranging public consultation, the Commission decided on new rules laying down the conditions under which start-up aid can be granted to airlines to operate new routes from regional airports. The Commission has said that its intention is to guarantee equal treatment for public and private airports and ensure that airlines receiving aid are not unduly favoured. These guidelines also give airports and Member States guidance on the public financing of airports.

  • GALILEO Programme

The Council took note of the information provided by the Presidency and Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot on the latest developments in this Programme.

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

TRANSPORT

Port security *

The Council adopted a Directive aimed at enhancing security at seaports in the face of the threat of security incidents (3629/05, 11461/1/05 ADD 1).

The Directive complements security measures introduced by Regulation (EC) No 725/2004[2] on enhancing ship and port facility security by ensuring that the entire port is covered by a security regime. In order to achieve the fullest protection possible for maritime and port industries, measures should be introduced covering each port within the boundaries defined by the Member State concerned, thereby ensuring that security measures taken pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 725/2004 benefit from enhanced security in the areas of port activity. These measures should apply to all those ports in which one or more port facilities covered by the Regulation are situated.

Following entry into force of the Directive, Member States will have 18 months in which to comply with its provisions.

EXTERNAL RELATIONS

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia – Freezing of assets

The Council adopted a common position extending common position 2004/694/CFSP for another 12 months and amending the list of persons to whom economic sanctions should apply for having been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) (12130/05).

Following the transfer of Mr Sredoje Lukic to ICTY detention units, his name has been removed from the list.

TRADE POLICY

Anti-dumping - China and India - Polyethylene terephthalate; magnesia bricks

The Council adopted Regulations:

  • amending Regulation (EC) No 2603/2000 imposing a definitive countervailing duty on imports of certain polyethylene terephthalate originating, inter alia, in India (12110/05);
  • amending Regulation (EC) No 2604/2000 imposing definitive anti-dumping duties on imports of certain polyethylene terephthalate originating, inter alia, in India (12184/05);
  • imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty and collecting definitively the provisional duty imposed on imports of certain magnesia bricks originating in China (12246/05).

INTERNAL MARKET

Vehicles - Recyclability and recoverability

The Council adopted a Directive on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their re-usability, recyclability and recoverability (3634/2/05 REV 2).

The Directive lays down administrative and technical provisions for the type-approval of certain categories of vehicles with a view to ensuring that their parts and materials can be re-used, recycled and recovered in the minimum percentages set out by the Directive.

The provisions set out in the Directive will impose on manufacturers the supply of new data relating to type-approval. Directive 70/156/EEC, which establishes the list of data to be submitted for type-approval, will be amended accordingly.

Member States will have to adopt the necessary provisions to comply with the new Directive within a year at the latest after its entry into force.

AGRICULTURE

Tobacco - Common organisation of the market

The Council adopted a Regulation amending Regulation (EEC) No 2075/92 on the common organisation of the market in raw tobacco further to the 2004 common agricultural policy reform (10646/05).

The premium and production limitation system for tobacco production provided for in Regulation (EEC) No 2075/92 expire as from the end of the 2005 harvest. Consequently, a number of provisions of the Regulation become obsolete and are deleted for reasons of legal clarity and transparency.

FISHERIES

Collection of fisheries data

The Council adopted a Decision amending Decision 2000/439/EC on a financial contribution from the Community towards the expenditure incurred by certain Member States in collecting data, and for financing studies and pilot projects for carrying out the common fisheries policy (11527/05).

The reference period covers the period of execution from 2001 to 2006 and the financial reference is EUR 164,5 million.

EU/Comoros - Protocol on tuna fishing *

The Council adopted a Regulation on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the tuna fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the agreement with the Comoros on fishing off the Comoros for the period 2005 to 2010 (11448/05, 11449/1/05 ADD 1).

The Protocol was initialled in November 2004 in order to ensure uninterrupted fishing activities by Community vessels in the fishing zone of the Comoros. It will be applicable retroactively from 1 January 2005.

The fishing opportunities set out in the Protocol are allocated for tuna seiners (40 vessels from Spain, France and Italy) and surface longliners (17 vessels from Spain and Portugal). The Agreement will cover an annual catch of 6 000 tonnes of tuna in Comorian waters.

The EU will pay a financial contribution of EUR 2 340 000 for the whole six-year period.

ENVIRONMENT

Waste from extractive industries

The Council decided not to approve all the European Parliament's second reading amendments concerning a proposal for a Directive on the management of waste from extractive industries and consequently decided to convene the Conciliation Committee.

TRANSPARENCY

Public access to documents

The Council adopted :

  • the reply to confirmatory application No 37/c/02/05 (12021/05);
  • the reply to confirmatory application No 38/c/01/05 made by Ms Béatrice Gorez, the Finnish delegation voting against (12029/1/05 REV 1).


[1] This proposal is part of the Third Railway Package which includes three other proposals, namely the proposal for a Regulation on rights and obligations for passengers in international rail transport, the proposal for a Regulation on quality obligations for rail freight services and the proposal for a Directive on a European certification system for train crews. The European Parliament delivered on 28 September 2005 its first reading opinion on the Rail Market Access proposal and indeed on the three other components of the Third Railway Package.

[2] OJ L 129, 29.4.2004, p.6.


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