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

Belgium:
Mr Michel DAERDEN                Minister for Transport

Denmark:
Mr Jan TRØJBORG                  Minister for Transport
Mr Ole ZACCHI                    State Secretary, Ministry of Transport

Germany:
Mr Hans Jochen HENKE             State Secretary, Ministry of Transport

Greece:
Mr Evangélos VENIZELOS           Minister for Transport and Communications

Spain:
Mr José BORRELL FONTELLES        Minister  for Public  Works,  Transport and
                                 the Environment
Mr Manuel PANADERO               Secretary-General, Ministry of Transport

France:
Ms Anne-Marie IDRAC              State Secretary, Ministry of Transport

Ireland:
Mr Michael LOWRY                 Minister  of  State at  the  Department  of
                                 Transport, Energy and Communications

Italy:
Mr Roberto ROSSI                 Deputy Permanent Representative

Luxembourg:
Ms Mady DELVAUX-STEHRES          Minister for Transport

Netherlands:
Ms Annemarie JORRITSMA-LEBBINK   Minister for Transport and Public Works

Austria:
Mr Viktor KLIMA                  Federal  Minister  for  State Holdings  and
                                 Communications 

Portugal:
Mr Jorge ANTAS                   State Secretary, Ministry of Transport

Finland:
Ms Tuula LINNAINMAA              Minister for Transport and Communications

Sweden:
Ms Ines UUSMANN                  Minister for Transport and Communications

United Kingdom:
Mr John WATTS                    State   Secretary   for   Transport,   with
                                 responsibility for Roads and Railways

Commission:
Mr Neil KINNOCK                  Member

Ministerial  meeting with  the associated  countries of  Central and  Eastern
Europe and the Baltic countries

The  participants  in  the  Transport  Council  meeting  were  joined by  the
following representatives of the  associated countries of Central and Eastern
Europe and the Baltic countries:

Bulgaria:
Mr Stamen STAMENOV               Minister for Transport

Hungary:
Mr Károly LOTZ                   Minister for Transport

Poland:
Mr Boguslaw LIBERADZKI           Minister for Transport

Romania:
Mr Aurel NOVAC                   Minister for Transport

Slovak Republic:
Mr Alexander REZE                Minister for Transport

Czech Recpublic:
Mr Jan STRASKY                   Minister for Transport

Estonia:
Mr Kalev KALLO                   Minister for Transport

Latvia:
Mr Andris GUTMANIS               Minister for Transport

Lithuania:
Mr Kostas BIRZIZKIS              Minister for Transport

FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE SINKING OF THE ESTONIA - RO-RO FERRY SAFETY

On the  first anniversary of the  sinking of the ferry Estonia  in the Baltic
Sea,  the  President  of the  Council  conveyed to  the  Finnish  and Swedish
delegations a  message of condolences  from the Council  and the citizens  of
Europe  concerning the disaster and  reaffirmed the Community's determination
to develop a policy of  safety at sea that  will prevent such accidents  from
recurring.

In  this context  the Council  formally adopted  its common  position on  the
proposal for  a  Regulation  on  the  safety management  of  ro-ro  passenger
vessels,  an initiative  which is  one  of the  key elements  in  the Council
Resolution of 22 December 1994  on the safety  of roll-on/roll-off  passenger
ferries adopted after the sinking of the Estonia.

The common position  provides for the advance,  compulsory application to all
vessels  and  companies  operating  within  the Community,  between  now  and
1 July 1996, of  the ISM Code -  established by  Resolution A.741(18) of  the
IMO  Assembly -  on the  creation  of  an  organization  to ensure  the  safe
management of vessels.

In  practice  it  involves  setting  up  a  safety  management  system  (SMS)
consisting in a  company policy, an organizational  structure both ashore and
on board ship, a  training programme, personnel  and ship management as  well
as monitoring  procedures  to  ensure  the  safe  operation  of  ships    and
environmental protection.  (See Press  Release 8129/95  Presse 190 of  19 and
20 June 1995).

COUNTRIES OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

-   JOINT MINISTERIAL MEETING

  A joint meeting of the Ministers  for Transport of the countries of Central
  and  Eastern Europe (CCEE)  and the  Baltic countries  took place alongside
  the  Council meeting.    This was  the  first formal  meeting on  transport
  matters  under  the pre-accession  strategy defined  by the  Essen European
  Council, which made  provision, in particular,  for "structured  relations"
  to examine questions of common interest.

  Three  main  questions were  examined  in  detail and  various  development
  measures were proposed and summarized by the Presidency as follows:

  "Market  integration in the transport sector must be achieved gradually and
  be  based on a twofold strategy, the opening up of the market going hand in
  hand  with legislative approximation.  On the latter point, the substantial
  progress already made  by the  Associated Countries  in adopting  Community
  standards, especially  in international  transport services  must be  taken
  further and include domestic services also.

  That process  ought  to be  made easier  by the  existence  of a  permanent
  framework for dialogue between  the European  Commission and the  transport
  ministries of the Associated Countries.

  Much  attention was  given to  the  view that  for the  integration  of our
  transport  systems to  be  successful  it was  necessary  to eliminate  the
  principal distortions of competition,  which could be caused  in particular
  by  the  major differences  in  technical standards  for  vehicles, driving
  times or taxation.

  It was recognized  that real progress in  improving market access could  be
  made  only  on  a basis  of  reciprocity,  in tandem  with  the  process of
  legislative approximation.

  There   was  broad   agreement   that  the   current  state   of  transport
  infrastructures in  the Associated Countries  was inadequate  to cope  with
  current  and projected traffic  flows, particularly  in view  of the growth
  that  may  result  from  the  current   process  of  economic  integration.
  Regarding  financial  and budgetary  factors,  it was  agreed that  a joint
  assessment of  requirements would be  made in order  to decide  on priority
  projects.   In this connection, the Commission expressed its willingness to
  convene  an  ad  hoc  meeting  of  the  Infrastructure  Committee with  the
  participation  of representatives  from  the Associated  Countries,  with a
  view to initiating such a study.

  It  was  recognized  that   improvements  as  a  result  of  infrastructure
  investments would only be achieved in the  long term and that consideration
  needed  to be given to the  development of short and medium-term regulatory
  and management measures to alleviate bottlenecks on major European axes.

  The Ministers  discussed the present  imbalances in transport systems  over
  lunch,  on the  basis of  an  analysis submitted  by the  Commission.   The
  growing  pressure  of demand  has not  yet been  satisfactorily met  by the
  provision  of modern, efficient transport  services and  this situation, if
  not corrected, could  slow down the economic  development of the Associated
  Countries and, hence, their full economic integration into the Union.

  Accordingly, the development  of an integrated  transport system,  designed
  to  guarantee  sustainable  mobility  for  persons  and  goods  as well  as
  protection and respect  for the environment, was considered  an appropriate
  means of remedying the present imbalances.  To this end,  a common approach
  to  developing this integrated  transport system  will need  to be promoted
  through  the  participation   of  the  Associated  Countries  in  Community
  programmes and  activities in  the transport  sector.   The Commission  was
  asked,  on  the  basis  of  the  Additional  Protocols  to the  Association
  Agreements, to explore  the arrangements for such participation, especially
  with  regard  to  financing,  together  with  the  administrations  of  the
  Associated Countries.

  The Commission stated that it would report on progress made  on the various
  matters discussed today at the  next joint meeting of the Transport Council
  and the Ministers of the Associated Countries."

-   NEGOTIATIONS  WITH THE CCEE  ON THE  CARRIAGE OF GOODS  AND PASSENGERS BY
    ROAD

  The  Council held a policy  debate on the recommendation  for a Decision on
  the  opening of  negotiations between  the European  Community and  certain
  third countries concerning the carriage of goods and passengers by road.

  The Commission  submitted  the  above  recommendation  to  the  Council  on
  22 December 1992.  Its  purpose was to  begin negotiations with  a view  to
  concluding  one or  more  agreements  on transport  with  the countries  of
  Central and  Eastern  Europe in  order to  put  in place  joint  agreements
  aimed,  inter  alia,  at  introducing  freedom  to  provide  road transport
  services between the Community and the various third countries concerned.

  The debate centred on  the guidelines proposed by the Presidency,  with the
  aim  of adopting  two separate negotiating  mandates with the  CCEE, one on
  passenger transport  and the  other on  goods transport,  at the  Transport
  Council next December.

  The  Permanent Representatives  Committee  was instructed  to  continue its
  discussions in the light of the debate.

WEIGHTS AND DIMENSIONS FOR ROAD VEHICLES OVER 3,5 TONNES

The Council agreed  by a qualified majority,  Austria voting against,  on the
common position on the  proposal for a Council Directive laying  down maximum
authorized   weights  and  dimensions  for   road  vehicles  over  3,5 tonnes
circulating within the Community.

The aim of the proposal is  to eliminate, throughout the Community,  barriers
to circulation between the  Member States  resulting from the differences  in
the  standards  applicable to  the  weights and  dimensions of  road vehicles
engaged in road haulage and passenger transport.

The common position in particular provides for:

-   the consolidation of Directive 85/3/EEC, which had been  amended a number
    of times, and Directive 86/364/EEC;

-   an increase in  some of the  dimensions laid down in  Directive 85/3/EEC,
    which currently applies only to the international transport of goods  and
    passengers, namely:

  =   increasing the maximum authorized  length of a road  train from 18,35 m
      to 18,75 m,

  =   increasing  the  maximum   authorized  width  of  vehicles  other  than
      conditioned vehicles.
      Nevertheless, Member  States may, during  a transitional period  due to
      expire  on 31 December 1999,  prohibit the  use on  their territory  of
      buses wider than 2,50 m.

  It should  be noted  that the increase  in the maximum  length (18,75 m) is
  designed solely  to allow the use of  non-extensible coupling systems.  The
  increase  cannot under  any circumstances  call into  question the  loading
  length of the vehicle, which continues to be set at 15,65 m.

-   the extension to domestic freight transport of the standards relating  to
    the dimensions laid down for international  transport, with the exception
    of  the  standard  for  the  maximum  authorized  height (4,00 m),  which
    therefore remains applicable solely for international transport.

However,  in order to  ensure a  reasonable amortization  period for existing
vehicles,  Member  States  may   allow  vehicles  exceeding  the  Directive's
standards for maximum  length and  width to circulate  in their territory  in
domestic freight transport until 31 December 2006.

The  common  position  also  contains  derogations  to  take  account of  the
geographical situations and population  distributions specific to Finland and
Sweden.    To  this  end the  text  identifies  two  categories of  transport
operation deemed to have  no significant impact on  international competition
and  which may be  carried out,  subject to  certain conditions,  by vehicles
with  dimensions deviating from those laid down  for domestic transport.  The
text nevertheless provides that a Member State which needs to  adapt its road
infrastructure in order to be able  to comply with the conditions relating to
either  of  these  two  categories  of  transport  operations  may, during  a
transition   period   which  expires   on   31 December 2003,  prohibit   the
circulation  in its territory of vehicles exceeding the national standards in
force with regard to maximum dimensions in domestic freight transport.

The Directive  will  be implemented  one year  after its  publication in  the
Official Journal.

Once  it has been formally  adopted the common position  will be forwarded to
the European Parliament under the cooperation procedure.

TRANSPORT OF DANGEROUS GOODS BY RAIL

The  Council agreed on a  common position on the  proposal for a Directive on
the  approximation  of the  laws  of the  Member States  with  regard  to the
transport of dangerous goods by rail.

The  aim  of  the  common  position  is  to  establish high  national  safety
standards, i.e.  up  to the  level  of  the international  standards  of  the
Convention  concerning International  Carriage  by Rail  (COTIF).   It  takes
account  of the potential  risks associated  with the  transport of dangerous
goods  by rail,  particularly given  the fact  that such goods  often transit
through urban areas and  that accidents  may occur during manoeuvres  carried
out in marshalling yards, which are often situated in the middle of towns.

Moreover,  with  a  view  to  the  gradual opening  of  the  market  in  rail
transport, the text establishes  a uniform set of national safety rules which
will avoid giving  rise to distortions  of competition between  modes in  the
transport of dangerous goods.

The  common  position  also  allows  for  the  possibility  of imposing  more
stringent  provisions  for  the transport  of  dangerous  goods  through  the
Channel Tunnel or tunnels with  similar characteristics, as will be the case,
according to  information currently available, with  the Storebaelt tunnel in
Denmark and the Øresund tunnel between Denmark and Sweden.

Once  it has been formally  adopted the common position  will be forwarded to
the European Parliament under the cooperation procedure.

TRANSPORT BY INLAND WATERWAY

Freedom to provide services

The  Council  held  a policy  debate  on  the proposal  for  a  Regulation to
introduce  Community rules on  access to  transport between  Member States to
ensure application of the  principles of  freedom to provide services  within
the Community.

The  Regulation is necessary  to ensure freedom  to provide  services in this
area  as  a  consequence of  the  accession  of Austria,  which  is  bound by
bilateral  conventions  with  two  other  Member  States,   Germany  and  the
Netherlands, as regards inland waterway transport.

At the end  of the debate the President  noted a consensus broadly  in favour
of  the proposal.    The Permanent  Representatives Committee  will  continue
discussions with a view to the adoption of  a common position as soon as  the
European Parliament has delivered its Opinion.

Structural improvements

Pending the Opinion  of the European  Parliament, the Council  held a  policy
debate on  the proposal for a Directive, the purpose of which is to provide a
suitable legal  basis for  implementing the  Community budget  in respect  of
structural improvements in inland waterway transport.

The Council  came out broadly  in favour  of the option  of adding  Community
contributions,  limited  to 1995,  to  the financing  from the  Member States
concerned and other financing provided for in Regulation No 1101/89.

The  Permanent Representatives  Committee  will continue  discussions  with a
view to  the adoption of a common position as soon as the European Parliament
has delivered its Opinion.

AIR TRANSPORT

-   ACCESS TO THE GROUNDHANDLING MARKET

  The Council  held a detailed policy debate on  the proposal for a Directive
  on access to the groundhandling market at Community airports.

  The   proposal,  which   follows  on   from  the   Council   Resolution  of
  24 October 1994  on  the  state  of  civil  aviation  in  Europe,  aims  to
  liberalize  groundhandling  services  at Community  airports  and  sets out
  detailed rules.

  Ministers examined certain key  aspects of the proposal and  hoped to agree
  a common position at the Transport  Council meeting in December, as soon as
  the  European  Parliament  has  delivered  its   Opinion.    The  Permanent
  Representatives Committee will continue to examine the proposal.

-   CONGESTION AND CRISIS IN AIR TRAFFIC IN EUROPE - COUNCIL RESOLUTION

  "THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

  Considering that  air traffic  management is  of vital  importance for  the
  development of European air transport;

  Considering that  air  transport  has  a  key  role  to  play  in  economic
  development  and  strengthening  social   cohesion,  providing  swift   and
  efficient  links between regions and in particular in making peripheral and
  island regions accessible;

  Considering  that  air   traffic  congestion  imposes  serious  losses  and
  inconvenience  both for  airlines and  creates  economic obstacles  for air
  traffic within the  European Union, while causing  inconvenience for  users
  in general;

  Considering  that such congestion  is aggravated  seasonally and  for given
  traffic  flows and  that  saturation of  the  air  space and  reduction  of
  available capacity are two of the primary causes of this congestion; 

  Considering  that  an unexpected  or  unplanned loss  of civil  air traffic
  control capacity over an extended period can lead to a crisis;

  Considering  that better  utilization  of available  capacity  could reduce
  congestion and prove useful in cutting costs;

  Considering that the  Council, in its Resolution 89/C189/02 of 18 July 1989
  and in its conclusions of 29 March 1990  and 7 December 1992, addressed air
  traffic system capacity  problems, calling for  an effort to make  progress
  towards their possible solution;

  Considering that Directive 93/65  of 19 July 1993 dealt with the definition
  and utilization of  compatible technical specifications for the procurement
  of air-traffic-management equipment and systems;

  Considering the communication  from the Commission on congestion and crisis
  in air traffic presented to the Council on 4 September 1995;

  Considering  the vital  role  in air  traffic  management and  organization
  played  by  such  international organizations  as  the  International Civil
  Aviation  Organization  (ICAO),  the  European  Civil  Aviation  Commission
  (ECAC)  and  the European  Organization  for the  Safety of  Air Navigation
  (EUROCONTROL);

  Considering that European  Union action should try  to avoid duplication of
  work and activities already initiated by those organizations; 

  Considering that  this Resolution is without  prejudice to the distribution
  of   powers  between  the  Member States,   the  European   Union  and  the
  appropriate international  organizations or  to the  imperatives of  public
  security and public policy and of defence.

  CALLS  UPON MEMBER STATES of  the European Union which  are not yet members
  of  EUROCONTROL to join as soon  as possible in order  to make existing and
  future action more effective;

  WELCOMES the existence  of a crisis management  cell within EUROCONTROL and
  resolves to support its activity;

  DECLARES THAT IT IS FAVOURABLE TO:

  -   the study  of the  arrangements existing  within each  of the  European
      Union  Member States  for minimum  ATM services  in  crisis situations.
      The purpose  of the  study is to  define, if necessary,  in conjunction
      with  all partners  involved,  the guidelines  of  the  most  effective
      minimum services in  case of crisis  and to encourage the  coordination
      of national contingency plans.

  The Council accordingly  calls upon the Member  States, EUROCONTROL and the
  Commission  to coordinate  positions  with  a view  to  carrying out  these
  studies. 

  NOTES  and  supports the  action by  the  Central Flow  Management  Unit of
  EUROCONTROL  to   improve  traffic   flows  in  Europe   and  invites  this
  organization  to  review  urgently  rules  on  priority  in  situations  of
  congestion and  crisis and to examine  ways in which  better planning could
  be achieved, taking into account the  legislation concerning the allocation
  of slots.

OTHER DECISIONS IN THE FIELD OF TRANSPORT
(Adopted without discussion)

Trans-European network

Further  to  the  agreement  reached  at  the  Transport  Council  on  19 and
20 June 1995 (see Press Release  8129/95 - Presse 190)  the Council  formally
adopted  a  common  position on  the  proposal for  a  Decision  on Community
guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network.

This text covers all transport  infrastructure - land, sea  and air - with  a
view to intermodal  integration.  These guidelines  should therefore take the
place  of   the  three   "modal"  Decisions   adopted  by   the  Council   on
29 October 1993  (road, inland waterway and  combined transport networks) and
also cover  railways, sea  and inland  ports, airports,  and information  and
management systems for the entire network.

MISCELLANEOUS DECISIONS
(Adopted without discussion)

CREST

The  Council  adopted a  Resolution  on  the  review of  the  Scientific  and
Technical Research Committee (CREST).

CREST, which  was set up by the Council Resolution  of 14 January 1974, is an
advisory body whose task is  to assist both the Commission and the Council in
respect  of RTD.   The main  differences between  the new CREST  and its 1974
status are as follows:

-   CREST's role has focused on four main tasks:

  =   identifying strategic priorities for Community RTD policy;

  =   establishing mutual  consistency  between  national and  Community  RTD
      policies;

  =   reviewing the  independent assessment  of the  specific programmes  and
      the  framework programmes,  relying  in  particular  on  the  programme
      committees;

  =   formulating Community strategy for international cooperation.

CREST should  also devote itself to the dissemination and exploitation of the
results of RTD and to training activities.

-   It  is specifically  stated that CREST  shall consist  of representatives
    responsible for  RTD policies  in  the Member  States and  of  Commission
    representatives.

-   If CREST is to be chaired as in the  past by a Commission representative,
    the secretariat  shall be  provided  by the  General Secretariat  of  the
    Council of the European Union.

It should be noted  that CREST's role in the coordination of RTD policies had
already  been  set  out  in  the  conclusions  of  the  Research  Council  of
9 June 1995 (see Press Release 7835/95 - Presse 170).

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