The following points are included in the Council's agenda:
Following the Prestige accident off the Spanish coast two weeks ago, pressure has arisen to tighten up maritime safety rules in Europe (see
EurActiv on 2 December
). On request of the Spanish delegation, the ministers will discuss speeding up the phasing out of Prestige-type single hull tankers, tougher port inspection, co-operation with third countries and creating ports of refuge for ships in distress.
The European Parliament backed the package on 3 September with an overwhelming majority (see
EurActiv on 6 September 2002
). During the two latest meetings of the Council, no progress was made (seeEurActiv on 4 October 2002
), the main point of controversy being the relation between civil and military uses. However, in line with the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council, a political understanding is supposed to be reached still this year.
- Consequences of the Court's 'open sky' judgements
Following the European Court's decision that eight Member States holding bilateral aviation deals with the US have broken community law (see
EurActiv on 6 November 2002
), the European Commission formally requested those Member States to revoke the deals (seeEurActiv on 21 November 2002
). During the Council's meeting., the Commission's communication is to be presented to the Member States.
- Compensation and assistance to air passengers
On 23 October, the EP plenary approved the draft regulation setting up new standards for compensation and assistance in the case of denied boarding. The main stumbling point relates to the amounts of compensations to be paid out to passengers (see
EurActiv on 25 October 2002
). However, some progress was made during the October Council session, so this time a political agreement is likely to be reached.
- Ecopoint system with Austria
The European Parliament transport committee was to adopt its report on 2 December. It will be presented to the plenary in December this year. The Transport Council is expected to reach a political agreement on the draft regulation for reviewing the system as a whole (COM (2000)862), but not on the regulation extending the system until late 2004, with a possibility of further extension (COM(2001)807, see
EurActiv on 28 October 2002
On 27 November, the European Parliament's transport committee adopted its reports on the legislative package, including proposals on market liberalisation, rail safety, interoperability and a European Railway Agency. The committee wants to fully liberalise not only national and international rail freight but also passenger services by 2008. The plenary is to deal with the proposal only in January. The Transport Council will hold a policy debate on the issue.