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EC proposes to open aviation negotiations with NZ

Commission proposes to open aviation negotiations with New Zealand

The European Commission proposed today to open aviation negotiations with New Zealand. These negotiations will seek further opening of the respective air markets and enhanced regulatory cooperation. Vice-President Jacques Barrot, in charge of transport, said: “The single aviation market in the EU with open market access and high regulatory standards has created huge benefits for the EU aviation industry and consumers. I believe that this success can be repeated in our aviation relations with New Zealand”.

New Zealand, which has already signed a “horizontal agreement” with the EU, is among the most advanced nations with regard to the regulatory framework for aviation and market liberalisation. New Zealand largely shares the EU’s market-driven and consumer-oriented approach to aviation policy. This proposal follows similar proposals earlier this week for Australia, Chile and India.

The Commission has already received a mandate for the creation of a transatlantic Open Aviation Area with the United States, and it has requested negotiation mandates with Russia and China. Vice-President Barrot attended recently the EU-China Aviation Summit in Beijing which was very successful in fostering closer co-operation between China and the EU in civil aviation. Furthermore, the Commission has started negotiations on an agreement on a European Common Aviation Area with the Western Balkan countries and an ambitious aviation agreement with Morocco.

EU Transport Ministers welcomed in their June Council the Commission’s success with the initialling of a growing number of “horizontal” aviation agreements to remove nationality restrictions in bilateral agreements between Member States and third countries. These nationality restrictions had been found incompatible with EC law by the European Court of Justice. With 17 initialled “horizontal” agreements the Commission has brought more than 270 bilateral air services agreements in line with European law. New Zealand was among the first countries to conclude this first step.

Further to the need to correct the legal problems, the recent Commission Communication on external aviation policy underlined the benefits of “comprehensive” aviation negotiations with selected countries. By opening up markets, new economic opportunities would be created for the EU industry. At the same time, a competitive level playing field needs to be ensured by fostering regulatory co-operation with these countries. EU Transport Ministers welcomed this approach in June 2005 and noted with interest the Commission’s priority of candidates for such comprehensive aviation negotiations including New Zealand.

More information can be found at

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