Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Karen Buck MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Department for Transport

  Sub-Committee B considered your Explanatory Memorandum at its meeting on 16 January 2006 and decided to maintain scrutiny on this document pending receipt of a Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum and initial Regulatory Impact Assessment following your investigations into the details of this framework proposal.

  Members noted that the Commission is seeking to extend its competencies in this area. Is this consistent with the principle of subsidiarity?

  In paragraph 196 and 20 of your Explanatory Memorandum you raise various concerns about the document relating to:

    —  the attestation and medical certificates for cabin crew; and

    —  the provisions applying the basic principles and essential requirements to airlines and aircraft from third countries.

  We trust. that these issues will be resolved in future discussions on this document.

18 January 2006

Letter from Karen Buck MP to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 18 January, regarding the Explanatory Memorandum that I sent to you on 13 December 2005. I would like to address the concerns that you raise and am also submitting an initial Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA), under cover of a Supplementary EM.

  I would like to comment on the two specific issues you raise in your letter. Firstly, the consistency of the extension of competencies with the principle of subsidiarity. The Government supported Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002 as it recognised that the establishment and uniform application of common rules in the field of civil aviation safety and environmental protection could not be sufficiently achieved individually by the Member States. The Community already had competence in the field of aviation safety through Council Regulation 3922/91 on the harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation which created a framework for incorporating Joint Aviation Requirements drawn up by the JAA. The Regulation repealed Council Regulation 3922/91 and established Community competence in many areas in which safety requirements were needed. Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002 required the Commission to bring forward proposals covering air transport operators and related personnel (in particular flight crew) and third-country aircraft as soon as possible. The need for Community competence in these areas is already, therefore, clearly recognised and endorsed in the current Regulation. The extension of Community competence in the proposed regulation is equally consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. The application of the proposed Regulation to further areas of aviation safety should ensure a high Community wide standard.

  In your letter you also noted our concerns on the resolution of issues relating to attestation and medical certificates for cabin crew and the provisions applying the basic principles to airlines and aircraft from third countries. The Department's consultation letter specifically seeks stakeholders' views on these issues. In addition, my officials are seeking advice from the Civil Aviation Authority on this matter. This will help the Government to explore the issues fully and seek to find satisfactory solutions during consideration of the dossier in Council discussions. I will, of course, keep you informed as negotiations progress.

7 March 2006

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