The Council called for a more robust EU external aviation policy

The Council has called for stronger coordination, unity and solidarity at EU level and for a more robust EU external aviation policy in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the European aviation industry while supporting the interests of European consumers.

EU transport ministers adopted a comprehensive set of Council conclusions which will lay down the framework for an ambitious EU external aviation policy for the coming years. The actions proposed by the European Commission in its Communication entitled “The EU's external aviation policy – addressing future challenges” and endorsed by the Council, will help boost the international competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry by opening negotiations with key partners to access new business opportunities in fast growing markets, developing new tools to fight unfair competition and creating the right regulatory conditions to stimulate investment. In September 2012, the Commission proposed open negotiations with key partners to boost the EU's aviation industry.

In particular, the Council considers that a tailored EU approach is now appropriate in relation to a number of key partners. It also encourages the Commission to reach comprehensive EU-level agreements with all neighbouring countries by 2015, and welcomes the Commission's intention to request an authorisation to open negotiations on comprehensive EU air transport agreements with Turkey and India.

Moreover, the Council welcomed the Commission's intention to prepare a comprehensive roadmap for enhancing EU-Russia aviation relations once Russia respects its international commitments towards the EU in aviation to phase out royalties for overflying Siberia, and supported the Commission's intention to present a proposal for a revision or replacement of Regulation 868/2004 concerning protection against subsidisation and unfair practices with the aim of developing a more effective instrument to safeguard open and fair competition. In the same spirit, the Council welcomes the Commission's intention to develop a template for a "fair competition clause" for inclusion in air services agreements with partner countries.