21 January 2007

European Commission proposes European Union-Canada air services negotiations

On 9 January 2007 the European Commission (EC) announced that it proposed that it should hold negotiations with Canada with a view to replacing all the air services agreements Canada has with European Union (EU) member states. The same day the Canadian Minister of Transport, Lawrence Cannon, welcomed the EC's announcement and indicated that Canadian officials would be holding preliminary discussions with the EC at the end of February. This follows the release of Canada's "Blue Sky" policy.

Before the EC can hold such negotiations of "vertical" air services agreements it must first secure the agreement of members states. This is decided at the Transport Council, a meeting of EU Transport Ministers. The agendas for these Transport Council meetings are set by the EU member state holding the Presidency, currently Germany.

To date the EC has received mandates to negotiate comprehensive air services agreements with the United States and some neighbouring states, most recently the Ukraine (announced on 12 December 2006). The EC also announced on 12 December 2006 that it had concluded such an agreement with Morocco.

In September 2005 the EC announced that it was seeking mandates to negotiate comprehensive agreements with Australia, Chile and New Zealand following the conclusion of "horizontal" agreements with these countries. At the same time the EC also proposed negotiations with India, having in March 2005 requested a mandate for negotiations with China. EU member states have yet to agree.

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