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EU Transport Council reaches important decisions on rail safety, air traffic management

EU strategies on how to increase safety and efficiency of air traffic management, improve air traffic control and safety, and better protect air passenger interests were discussed on October 10th in Luxembourg at the Meeting of Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council.

The ministers held an orientation debate on European Commission's proposal for a regulation to establish common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and cancellation or long delay of flights. The debate focused on the need to better inform air passengers on their rights to assistance and compensation. Ministers touched upon air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air.

"We all agree that it is necessary to guarantee air passenger interests and, therefore, ensure more efficient air carrier's assistance to passengers in the event of flight disruption. Additionally, it is important that in a liberalized market air carriers operate on equal terms, so that their financial costs spent on ensuring air passenger rights are proportionate," said the Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania Rimantas Sinkevicius, who chaired the Council meeting.

In order to improve air traffic management and safety, the Council agreed on establishing the next generation air traffic management system (SESAR) and continuing a joint venture's (which develops this system) activity till year 2024.

"The new air traffic management system will be implemented by new communication, control and computing technologies between the ground and aircraft. This will optimize the work of air traffic controllers and pilots. The new system is particularly significant for the management of growing air traffic. It should considerably improve flight safety and will help to increase Europe's competitiveness in the global aviation market," said the chair of today's Council Sinkevicius.

In the Council the EU Ministers of Transport reached a general approach on the railway safety directive, which is one of the four directives of the Fourth railway package. Sinkevicius noted that this directive will set clear responsibilities in the rail safety sector. Furthermore, it will establish rules on certification of railway operators and maintenance of rolling stock. Finally, it will make a contribution towards creating a common European railway area.

"This agreement is relevant also for Lithuania as it is an additional step towards complete integration into the EU railroad and legal systems. This is particularly relevant to the further development of the European railroad infrastructure project Rail Baltica. It will connect the Baltic states with the EU railroad network through Poland," said the Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania.

The ministers of transport also sought an agreement on further funding for the European Maritime Safety Agency for 2014-2020. This facilitates the continuation of agency's activity in the field of safety as well as prevention of pollution from ships and pollution caused by oil and gas installations.

The Council today also agreed to set up European Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) agency, aimed at implementing security accreditation of the European satellite navigation systems.

Baltic Course

 

12.10.2013

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