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Transport Council, 12Th And 13Th December

Volume 576: debated on Sunday 18 February 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the result of the Transport Council held in Brussels on 12th and 13th December.

The Transport Council met in Brussels on 12th and 13th December. I represented the United Kingdom.The Council agreed a common position on the Commission's proposals for a directive on road passenger cabotage (replacing Directive 2454/92, which was annulled for technical reasons by the European Court of Justice). The UK indicated that it would vote against the text when formally adopted, because much of the original proposals for further liberalisation had been removed from the text. This was the only item on which the question of a vote arose.The Council also agreed a common position on a proposed amendment to Council Regulation 684/92, on further liberalisation of international bus and coach services.The Council held orientation debates on the Commission's White Paper on the future of the Community's railways, and on proposals for the introduction of new digital tachograph technology to replace the mechanical recording devices currently required for buses and lorries.The Council agreed conclusions endorsing the Commission's proposals to take forward negotiations on a land transport agreement with Switzerland. It also discussed proposals for a replacement to Directive 93/89 (also annulled by the European Court of Justice on technical grounds) on taxation and road user charges for heavy goods vehicles. It was agreed that this issue would be taken forward under the Netherlands Presidency of the EU in parallel with discussions on fuel excise duties.The Council held an orientation debate on air traffic management in the EU, and agreed conclusions noting the urgent need to adopt the new EUROCONTROL Convention. The Council agreed a common position on a proposed regulation increasing and harmonising the liability of Community air carriers in case of accident to passengers.The Commission reported to the Council on its negotiations on air transport relations with the United States, and gave a presentation on proposals for a mandate to negotiate Community membership of a new European Aviation Safety Authority.The Council reached political agreement on a proposed directive on safety standards for fishing vessels and on a proposed amendment to Directive 93/75 on reporting requirements for ships carrying dangerous or polluting goods.The Council agreed a resolution promoting a maritime strategy for the Community. The UK opposed two elements of the strategy (on employment-related operating subsidies, and on restrictive manning practices) which were therefore excluded from the resolution itself and were covered separately by Presidency conclusions supported by the Commission and the other delegations.The Council discussed the recent lorry blockades in France and Greece and the question of compensation.The Council discussed summer time, and received progress reports from the Commission on a number of other issues, which were not debated.