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EU: Transport Council

Volume 711: debated on Wednesday 10 June 2009

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Sadiq Khan) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I will attend the second Transport Council of the Czech presidency, which takes place in Luxembourg on 11 June.

The council will be asked to adopt a decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations with Georgia on a comprehensive air transport agreement. The UK supports this negotiating mandate.

There will be a progress report and policy debate on a proposal for a regulation on the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport. The UK intervention will set out UK views on the scope of the directive and on its liability provisions.

It is expected that the council will be asked to reach a political agreement on a proposal for a regulation concerning a European rail network for competitive freight. The Government believe that the changes negotiated in council working group address all the UK’s key concerns with the Commission’s original proposal. We should therefore actively promote agreement now, so as to bank the achieved negotiating objectives, thereby avoiding the real possibility of the text regressing at future negotiations.

There will be a progress report on a proposed amendment to regulation (EC) 1321/2004 on the establishment of structures for the management of the European satellite radio-navigation programmes. The Government support the Commission’s aim of amending this regulation, given the substantial changes that have been made to the finance, governance and procurement procedures for Galileo since the original regulation was adopted. From a legal perspective any inconsistencies have to be addressed.

There will also be a progress report on the proposal for a directive laying down the framework for the deployment of intelligent transport systems in the field of road transport and for interfaces with other transport modes. I intend to thank the presidency for its report. The UK position remains that we are supportive of the objectives of the action plan, but do not believe that the Commission has made a sufficiently strong case to implement the actions through the proposed legislative framework.

The Commission recently produced a Green Paper on trans-European networks, entitled TEN-T: A Policy Review Towards a Better Integrated Trans-European Transport Network at the Service of the Common Transport Policy. There will be a lunch debate on this and the council will be asked to adopt conclusions. I expect to be able to agree to the conclusions.

Under AOB, the Commission will present its recent proposal for a directive on aviation security charges. We will want to ensure that the proposal is in accord with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and that member states’ ability to impose more stringent security measures when the situation demands it is in no way restricted.