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EU: Transport Council

Volume 715: debated on Tuesday 15 December 2009


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 Swedish presidency, which will take place in Brussels on 17 December.

The council will be asked to reach a political agreement on a regulation on the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport, which also amends Regulation 2006/2004 on co-operation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. While the scope of the regulation remains unresolved prior to the Transport Council, other key UK concerns with the original proposal have been addressed and the Government hope that a satisfactory political agreement can be reached.

The council will be asked to reach a general approach on an amending regulation on structures for the management of the European satellite radio-navigation programmes. The Commission will also give a progress report on the Galileo programme. Regulation 683/2008 significantly changed the role of the Galileo Supervisory Authority (GSA). The amending regulation amends earlier legislation on the GSA to bring it all in line with the 2008 Regulation. It changes the name of the body concerned to the European GNSS Agency and gives the European Commission more power in the Administrative Board. The UK is content that this is a sensible compromise. The UK has been a strong supporter of the need for a security accreditation body which can operate independently. We were also keen that, should the accreditors take a decision which would significantly increase cost or introduce delay, the Commission cannot overrule them without going to the council and the Parliament. It would be for council to decide whether the risk of not doing what the accreditors wanted was manageable. The Commission and member states have agreed with us that this is a sensible way forward.

There will be a progress report on a directive on the deployment of intelligent transport systems (ITS). My officials have been negotiating to secure amendments to the draft directive which better align it with UK interests. Good progress has been made on those areas of concern to the UK.

There will also be a progress report on a proposed directive on aviation security charges. The UK will work towards achieving a fair and proportionate outcome that balances the interests of passengers and airports.

The council will be asked to reach a general approach on a directive on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from EU ports. The UK supports this measure in principle as it should lead to a streamlining of administrative procedures to be followed by ships. It will be important to ensure that the implementation timetable allows member states sufficient time to adapt existing national systems to the new requirements.

The council will be asked to adopt conclusions following on from the Commission’s communication A sustainable future for transport: Towards an integrated, technology-led and user friendly system, which was debated by the council in October. The UK believes the council conclusions to be a good outcome. They provide the Commission with a clear and useful steer and I expect to be able to sign up to the conclusions at the council.

The council will be asked to adopt a decision authorising the Commission to negotiate an agreement with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), providing a general framework for enhanced co-operation. The UK supports this proposal. There are significant gains to be had from closer co-operation between the Community and ICAO, notably in the field of aviation safety. The presidency has made clear that the draft mandate does not affect relations between individual member states and ICAO, nor does it affect the arrangements for preparing Community positions for meetings of the ICAO Council.

There will be a progress report from the Commission on the second stage of air services negotiations with the US. Ministers’ views will be sought on the next phase of the negotiations.