Cablegate: Spain Wants to Negotiate Open Skies Bilateral

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: Following the failure of the European
Union Council of Ministers to endorse the proposed US-EU Open
Skies agreement, Eugenia Llorens, Deputy Director General of
Air Transportation, Ministry of Public Works (protect) told
us privately of Spain's interest in negotiating a bilateral
Open Skies agreement. Their current challenge is developing
the correct strategy to obtain approval in Brussels for the
bilateral. She also said that the bilateral negotiations
should be brief and fairly straightforward, and that late
September could be an ideal time for the task...should
Brussels approve. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On June 14, we spoke with Eugenia Llorens, Deputy
Director General of Air Transportation, Ministry of Public
Works about Open Skies issues. She told us that she had
briefed the Minister of Public Works Magdalena Alvarez prior
to last week,s Ministers luncheon. Llorens said that
Alvarez supported the proposed US-EU agreement within the
Ministers luncheon, but that Spain was alone in its support.

3. (SBU) This week, Llorens will begin developing a proposal
on how to proceed with bilateral negotiations. Llorens
explained that due to a new EC regulation approved in April,
the GOS must now inform the EC that it plans to negotiate
bilaterally, and the EC will then inform the GOS whether it
may proceed. Llorens will be seeking the advice of some
attorneys, and said that she probably will seek advice from
Brussels on how to best proceed with the required
notification. A lot of the work will go on "behind the
curtains," Llorens said.

4. (SBU) Llorens explained that some in Brussels believe
that any bilateral negotiations reduce incentives for the US
to negotiate with the EC. Llorens agreed that entering into
a fairly typical bilateral agreement should not reduce the
EC's negotiating power, noting that Spain and its air
business is not the impetus behind US-EU negotiations. Yet
she was uncertain how Brussels would ultimately respond to
Spain's notification.

5. (SBU) Llorens does not know when Spain will submit the
notice. However, she believes that late September would be
an ideal time to negotiate and reach agreement, since August
should be avoided for Spanish vacation reasons, and she would
like to complete the bilateral before the US presidential
elections in November.

6. (SBU) She expects the negotiations to be very brief. She
said that the US negotiators know what Spain wants, and the
GOS knows what the US wants. She noted that there might be
some discussion about 7th freedom rights, and possibly one
other issue. She considers any upcoming negotiation to be
fairly straightforward.

7. (SBU) Comment: Llorens mentioned several times that she
was only expressing her thoughts and plans. However, her
comments track with past GOS comments that should US-EU
negotiations fail, Spain would seek a bilateral. While she
believes that Minister Alvarez supports her position, she
cannot be certain that Alvarez will initiate bilateral
negotiations. End Comment.

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