The European Parliament gave its consent today to a series of European air transport and services agreements, notably with the US, Canada and Vietnam.

MEISSNER_90.jpg”Whereas the aviation agreement between the EU and Canada can be welcomed in its entirety, the one with the U.S. still leaves much to be desired.” said Gesine Meissner (FDP, Germany) ALDE coordinator and spokesperson in the Transport Committee.

“The goal of these arrangements is to replace all the existing bilateral ones between individual EU Member States and third countries under the EU flag, especially for a means of transportation that does not know borders. They will provide, on EU level, fairer access to markets, air services, environmental protection, passenger rights, working conditions, air traffic safety and reduce bureaucracy, for the benefit of both airline companies and especially passengers. With smoother operations and lower fares, the agreement with Canada – that we should take as a model, particularly with regard to fair competition – European investors are able to acquire a 49% share of Canadian carriers, and vice versa, while further market opening is still under negotiation. The U.S., on the contrary, claims 49% market access in Europe, but in return it is prepared to concede only 25%. This is not a fair partnership. Especially if we consider that EU-US aviation markets, taken together, account for about 60% of world air traffic.”

“We nevertheless agreed to consent to the agreement with the U.S. because it contains important progress, notably on environmental and social matters. However the Commission must foster additional negotiations to tackle further liberalisation of traffic rights and foreign investment opportunities as well as better coordination of passenger rights.”