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16 Oct 2008 : Column 53WS

The Council adopted a decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations towards a Euro-Mediterranean aviation agreement with the Republic of Lebanon. The UK supports this negotiating mandate.

The Council reached a general approach on an amendment to the regulation establishing a joint undertaking for the SESAR programme (technical implementation of the Single European Sky). The Council also adopted a resolution launching the development phase of the programme. Both the amending regulation and the resolution are acceptable to the UK.

Under other business, the Commission gave a progress report on negotiations on the proposed EU/Canada air transport agreement. The UK supported the presidency’s
16 Oct 2008 : Column 54WS
proposal that the Commission be asked to finalise negotiations on the emerging agreement and report back to the Council on the outcome.

The Council reached political agreement on proposals for directives on the responsibility of EU member states which are flag states and the insurance requirements of shipowners. These were substantially amended versions. Negotiations before and during the Council led to further welcome amendments. The presidency and Commission also made clear that the European Parliament would only negotiate on the complete third maritime safety package with these two amended proposals included. Taking all of this into account, the UK supported the agreements on both of the significantly amended proposals.

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