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Cablegate: Minister Tiefensee's U.S. Visit - Disappointment On Open

VZCZCXRO4742
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHRL #0356 0531423
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221423Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7165
INFO RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHMT/AMCONSUL MONTREAL 0043
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BERLIN 000356

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

State for EEB - John Byerly and EUR/AGS, EUR/ERA
DOE PASS TO Ed Rossi, David Pumphrey
AMCONSUL MONTREAL PLEASE PASS TO USICAO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ENRG ICAO PREL GM
SUBJECT: Minister Tiefensee's U.S. Visit - disappointment on Open
Skies but encouraged on Energy Cooperation

REF: Berlin 177

1. (SBU) SUMMARY -- Ministry staff report German Minister of
Transportation, Construction and Urban Affairs Wolfgang Tiefensee
returned from his first official visit to Washington pessimistic
about the future of the U.S./E.U. civil air agreement negotiations.
Senior Ministry officials report Tiefensee and E.U. Transportation
Commissioner Jacques Barrot were "disappointed" by what they saw as
a lack of flexibility from the U.S. side regarding the agreement.
The majority of E.U. member states continue to see the current
version of the agreement as "imbalanced" and Ministry officials say
it is unlikely that the agreement could get the necessary unanimous
consent at the upcoming March E.U. Council of Ministers meeting.
However, Tiefensee left the U.S. more optimistic about opportunities
to cooperate on energy issues and felt the visit overall was a good
one. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) Bernd Toerkel, Head of the Transportation Ministry
Directorate A1, told Emboffs February 21 that German Minister of
Transportation, Construction and Urban Affairs Wolfgang Tiefensee
and E.U. Transportation Commissioner Jacques Barrot were
disappointed by what they felt was unwillingness to add to the
proposed CivAir package following the inability to deliver on the
proposed rule change. Tiefensee, acting in his EU Presidency
capacity, and Barrot met with DOT Secretary Peters, House
Transportation Committee Chairman Oberstar, and Senator Inouye among
others February 5 and 6 on the civil air negotiations and initiated
a new negotiating round. The agreement, while not listed officially
as a priority of the German E.U. Presidency, was a priority for the
Tiefensee visit.

3. (SBU) EMIN reminded Toerkel of the additional points the USG had
put forward in the February meetings as well as the benefits for
Germany and other EU countries already contained in the proposed
agreement. Agreeing that both sides are acting under constraints
with little room to maneuver, Toerkel expressed appreciation of U.S.
proposals on antitrust immunity, safe harbors (which would resolve
Lufthansa/Swiss problem), the 7th freedom, and expansion of carriage
rights for USG-funded passengers to non-U.S. carriers.
Nevertheless, Toerkel stated the majority of E.U. member states
continued to see the current agreement as favoring the U.S. The
March E.U. Council of Ministers meeting will evaluate the results of
the talks in terms of added value for E.U. member states and decide
whether to accept the results. In the view of the official, the
necessary unanimous consent of the 27 member states to the agreement
appears unlikely.

4. (SBU) At the same time, Tiefensee thought the results of the
trip overall were positive. Toerkel said the Minister especially
pleased with the results of his discussions with Energy Secretary
Bodman on the possibility of cooperation on energy issues. Toerkel
noted the good prospects for two workshops on climate change and
energy policy in cooperation with the U.S. and felt that these might
be deliverables for the U.S./E.U. summit. Tiefensee also invited
Energy Secretary Bodman to attend the G8 Energy Efficiency Congress
in Berlin April 20-21.

5. (SBU) On a further positive note, Toerkel expressed appreciation
of DOT Under Secretary Shane's efforts to modernize the Paris-based
European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) into a new
leaner structure suited to handling global transportation issues in
an expanded forum including business, industry and science. The
U.S. is an associate member. Germany plans to organize and host a
transportation conference using the new structure in Leipzig in May
2008 to focus on energy for transportation from both the climate
change and the economic perspective.

6. (SBU) EMIN also raised the EU discussions over including civil
air transport in the EU's emissions trading scheme noting a
statement the major players in the German aviation sector recently
published against the Commission's proposal. Transportation
Ministry officials expect the issue to be on the agenda of the
Spring Meeting of ICAO.

7. (U) Toerkel also noted that after promising talks with potential
U.S. investors in the former East Germany, Tiefensee plans to return
to the U.S. for the October 3 national holiday commemorating German
unification to advance these discussions, including with potential
investors in renewable energy.
TIMKEN JR

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