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EU Transport Council

Volume 571: debated on Tuesday 3 December 2013

I will attend the final Transport Council under the Lithuanian presidency (the presidency) taking place in Brussels on Thursday 5 December.

The presidency will provide the Council with a progress report on a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Union agenda for railways and repealing regulation (EC) No. 881/2004 (part of the 4th railway package). The UK will be seeking to ensure that necessary revisions are put in place to reflect agreements in the general approach texts for the recast railway interoperability and safety directives. This includes the UK’s proposals to give applicants a choice to apply to national safety authorities for an interoperability authorisation or a safety certificate where operations would be restricted to one member state. The UK also supports the Commission’s proposals to harmonise the management and administration of all European Union decentralised agencies which have been incorporated in the revised text.

The Council will be asked to reach a general approach on a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure—clean power. The UK recognises that alternative fuels infrastructure is an area that can benefit from regulatory support, but is not convinced that setting rigid, mandatory targets for the deployment of technology specific infrastructure is an effective way of building consumer confidence in new technology. So we welcome the approach taken to replace the targets proposed with a more comprehensive and detailed approach to the national policy frameworks. This will allow us to provide transparency and predictability to the market, and mitigate the risk of technology-specific infrastructure being outpaced by future innovations and advancements, and ultimately becoming redundant.

We support the proposals to adopt common technical standards for refuelling across the EU, but are clear that this must not create additional barriers or disadvantage early movers, who must be able to retain confidence that infrastructure installed across the EU today and in the future is available and compatible for them to use.

There will be a progress report on a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and regulation (EC) No. 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage. The UK will continue to look to ensure that additional burdens and costs on UK industry are minimised, while retaining an appropriate level of protection for passengers.

The draft decision of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the EU member states, meeting within the Council, authorising the Commission to open negotiations with the Federal Republic of Brazil on a comprehensive agreement on air transport services will be adopted. The UK supports the revision of the European Commission’s mandate which should enable resumption of negotiations of a comprehensive air services agreement with Brazil.

Under any other business, the Commission will provide information on the aviation emissions trading scheme (ETS), on passenger ship safety, on the impact of state aid rules on large-scale infrastructure projects in Europe, on progress on Galileo and EGNOS programme and on the blue belt project.