Select Committee on European Union Thirty-Sixth Report

PART 1: background

CHAPTER 1: the mandate to negotiate an open aviation area

1. This Report is a sequel to our Report earlier this year[2]. In that Report, we made two fundamental recommendations:

"That the Government should agree to a full negotiating mandate for the Commission on the basis that the objective of such a mandate would be the full liberalisation of the aviation industry in the EU and the US" (para 65)

and that the Government accede

"to the approach proposed by the Commission, namely that the Commission assisted by Member States negotiate in the first instance with the United States to remedy those breaches of Community law identified by the ECJ judgments in existing air service agreements with the United States" (para 51).

2. In the conclusions of that Report,

"We urge(d) the Government, therefore, to attempt to achieve agreement at the June Transport Council so that negotiations can be opened quickly thereafter with the Americans on these specific issues".

The Transport Council, 5/6 June 2003

3. The Transport Council took place in Luxembourg on 5 and 6 June 2003. Appendix 2 contains the formal statement made to Parliament by the Minister reporting the outcome of the Council[3].

4. The Council agreed that the Commission should receive two mandates. One, to negotiate an air service agreement with the United States on behalf of the Community. The other, to negotiate on specific Community issues with other third countries, while allowing flexibility for Member States to negotiate and implement air service agreements bilaterally.

5. The text of these two mandates is confidential[4]. The Committee judged that it was important to know in more detail what issues these mandates covered. We invited the Minister to give oral evidence. The Committee is particularly grateful that the Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Transport, Mr Tony McNulty MP, agreed to come before the Committee even though, as a result of a Government reshuffle, he had been in charge of the aviation portfolio for a few days only. This session of evidence took place on Monday 23 June 2003 and the full transcript is printed with this Report as is the proposed text of the Regulation governing the negotiation and implementation of air service agreements between Member States and third countries (Appendix 4).

6. This inquiry was conducted by Sub-Committee B. The Members of this Sub-Committee are listed in Appendix 1.

2   ibid Back

3   Hansard, House of Commons, Written Answers, 17 June 2003, Col 111W-113W. Back

4   Q61. Back

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