Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 120-126)



  120. What does that mean? I am a very stupid Welsh woman, I like it all spelt out. What is that?
  (Mr Rees) It means that we as a community aim to get the best deal for the community as a whole.

  121. Who decides what is the best deal for the community as a whole?
  (Mr Rees) The community.

  122. Whatever the interests of the individual companies concerned and the individual countries concerned it would be the Commission in the final analysis who decides whether or not the negotiation that is carried on is acceptable. Is that what you are saying?
  (Mr Rees) No.

  123. Do you not think that should be made clear to the aviation industry?
  (Mr Rees) I think it is clear to the aviation industry. What is also clear is that there are certain countries in the world, one in particular, that is in a dominant position and because it is in a dominant position it is able to exercise its weight.

  124. It is a matter of judgment. We do not want to have an argument about that. I am just trying to work out the lines of responsibility. We can argue as to what you would call the best or the worst results for the community, because they may not be the ones that I would decide are the best or the worst for the community. Are you saying to me that in future the community would expect to take responsibility for the negotiations by individual countries for airline arrangements, aviation arrangements with foreign nationals outside of the community?
  (Mr Rees) Let distinguish between the practicalities of how we do it and on the principles. We believe that if the community acted as 15 vis-a-vis our partners we would get a better deal.

  125. You would lay down the terms of the negotiation, you would make sure that no country went out with that which was decided not by their commercial or national interests but by the interests of the Commission?
  (Mr Rees) It is quite obvious that if we are starting a negotiation and I was large country B facing 10 small countries I as large country B would aim to fix a deal as quickly as possible with two or three members.

  126. Mr Rees, I am trying to work out what it is that we are doing. I think you have made it quite clear. You would lay down the parameters, you would insist that the individual countries, and certainly the individual companies, stayed within the parameters laid down at European level and you would expect that negotiations to proceed along those lines? Presumably you would have sanctions you would take if, for any reason, anyone did not comply with those terms of reference?
  (Mr Rees) These is a good description of it.

  Chairman: Mr Rees, you have been very tolerant and very kind, we are very grateful to you. We are not, necessarily, unalloyed admirers of your White Paper, we may have the odd thing to say about it, but I hope you will leave in the spirit of information.

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