Thursday in plenary: EU-US air transport, airport capacity

Institutions - 12-10-2007 - 13:11
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A picture of the Airbus A380 ©BELGA/AFP/Jay Directo

MEPs backed the EU-US "open skies" agreement

The European Parliament Thursday gave the green light to the EU-US "open skies" air transport agreement, which will come into effect in March next year. It emphasised the need to reduce the effect of aviation on climate change and wants to be fully consulted on the next stage of talks on EU-US air transport. Separately, the EP called for a "master plan" to enhance airport capacity. MEPs also discussed the problem of feminicide in Mexico and Central America.

Speaking on the open skies agreement, the rapporteur, Belgian Socialist Saïd El Khadraoui called it a step ahead and an "improvement on the current situation". With greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft growing, Members stressed the importance of the US and EU taking steps to counter this. Emissions from planes are particularly harmful as they are released high in the atmosphere where the air is very thin. The original EU-US agreement was ruled to be incompatible with EU law by the European Court of Justice in 2002.
Action to avert crisis over airport capacity
The capacity of Europe's airports to cope with increasing demand was discussed on Thursday. Figures show that demand for flights will be 2.5 times higher in 2025 than they were in 2003. With this growth more than 60 airports around Europe will not be able to cope with the demand at peak times.
Danish Liberal Anne Jensen drafted a report calling for the development of a "master plan" to coordinate European airport capacity. It calls for better use of existing capacities and more cross border cooperation.
The EP backs the report, which stresses the importance of air transport in ensuring territorial, economic and social cohesion in the Union, in particular with regard to remote, peripheral and island regions, as well as the economic importance of airports for job creation, particularly at regional level.
The EP calls on the Commission to draw up a plan, although Ms Jensen conceded that countries have to work out a solution for themselves. "At the end of the day, it's the Member States, which have the competence to build and increase the airports. The master plan has to be a tool or a method, to ensure that Member States coordinate their initiative" she said.
European Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot called the report a "good basis" and said he would respect Parliament's wishes.
Murders of women in Central America and Mexico
MEPs asked for a strengthened fight against corruption and impunity, as well as against the inefficacy of the judiciary system. They urged the countries of Central America to take all necessary steps to enable violence against women to be combated effectively and called on the European institutions to work for cooperation between the EU, its Member States and the countries of Central America and Mexico.
Composition of the European Parliament after European elections in June 2009
The EP agreed to a new allocation of seats in the European Parliament after the next legislative elections, in 2009. MEPs call for a revision of the proposed distribution of seats for the 2014-2019 parliamentary term. The report was adopted with 378 votes in favour, 154 against and 109 abstentions. The question now moves to the meeting of EU leaders in Lisbon on Thursday and Friday for further discussion.
REF.: 20071008STO11300