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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Speech by Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc at the Aviation Leadership Summit (Singapore)

Singapore, 15 February 2016

Hello! Ni Hao! Apa kabar! 

Aviation Delivers. It is an enabler of jobs & growth and connectivity in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region. In Europe, the single aviation area we established in the 1990s has been a great success. Its buildings blocks are:

    • Competition,    
    • Common rules,
    • Connectivity and
    • Consumer choice.

If you allow me, aviation is like a phoenix of the last 20 years in global transport for growth and prosperity. European aviation today accounts for 26% of the world market; contributes 110 billion euro to the EU GDP each year and directly employs 2 million Europeans.

In December 2015, the Commission adopted an EU's aviation strategy. It rests on four mains pillars:

  1. EU's internal market
  2. Standards passengers, environment, social, safety and security
  3. Innovation and investment
  4. External market focus

 It is on this last point that I want to focus on today. The EU's external aviation policy has 3 core areas: Comprehensive Agreements; a global approach to decarbonisation; common research and innovation goals. Let me talk you through each of them.

Comprehensive Aviation Agreements

New emerging markets are not a threat. We must change what some perceived as challenges into opportunities. With Comprehensive Agreements, we aim to open markets with a fair regulatory framework, clarity, stability, predictability. They follow a shared approach on liberalisation and regulatory cooperation. 2 years ago, the EU and ASEAN signed a Joint Declaration on Aviation Cooperation. Demand for air traffic has been growing since. Building on the EU-ASEAN Working Group and the Joint EU-ASEAN vision 2014, I hope we will soon able to sign a comprehensive aviation agreement between the EU and ASEAN. It would cover 1.1 billion people.

Comprehensive Agreements bring many benefits. The EU already has such agreements with Morocco, the US and Canada; and we are finalising another one with Brazil. With the US and Canada, we witnessed an increase of passengers traffic of 3 million. Following the signature of the EU-Morocco agreement, services operators in this market jumped from 24 to 33 in 2011. As a result, traffic doubled: from 5.6 to 11 million annual passengers. More traffic means more jobs and more wealth. In the past, EU aviation safety agreements with Japan and China have also proven to boost and grow aerospace industry. The agreement with ASEAN would be the world's first bloc-to-bloc agreement. 2017 will mark the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN, and the 40th anniversary of the ASEAN – EU dialogue. What a great time it would be to sign it!


Let me know turn to the second core of our external aviation policy: decarbonisation. This is particularly relevant here, as 30% of the area of Singapore lies less than five meters above sea level and would therefore be particularly impacted by climate change. According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, emissions from aviation are forecast to grow by at least 63% by 2020 compared to 2006. Last December, the historic COP21 deal gave the world a lifeline and we must now build on this momentum to achieve aviation's decarbonisation. A good cooperation within ICAO is essential to work together towards two objectives:

  1. CO2 standards. The landmark agreement reached at technical level could save up to 650 million tons C02 by 2040.
  2. Global Market-Based Measures in order to offset aviation emissions.

Together we can create a sustainable world; for us and for future generations.

Research and Innovation

Innovation and digitalising the aviation ecosystem are central to dealing with capacity, connectivity and climate change concerns. I am particularly happy that plans are already in place for first hybrid planes. EU carriers are also innovating on a zero emission hydrogen fuel system for aircrafts, which could save 50,000 tonnes of fuel and the associated CO2 emissions every year. I can only imagine the next steps. I invite you to work with the EU as we co-create new solutions in aviation, creating jobs and having fun on the way.  

To conclude, I wish the EU and ASEAN a long and constructive collaboration in order to find common agreements benefitting to the consumer and to the planet.

Xiè xie – Terima kasih – Thank you


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