Capacity of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to act as Performance Review Body of the Single European Sky

In “A Europe Fit for the Digital Age”

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The European Commission adopted on 22 September 2020 a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 as regards the capacity of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to act as Performance Review Body of the Single European Sky (SES). This proposal was presented together with the an amended proposal on the implementation of the SES and staff working document on 'A fresh look at the SES'. The Commission did not carry out a separate impact assessment on this file. However, it refers to the impact assessment carried out by the Commission for the 2013 SES2+ proposal: SWD(2013) 206 final.

The objective of the SES is to reform the architecture of air traffic control in the EU, in order to meet future capacity and safety needs. The amended proposal on the implementation of the SES aims to update and recast the current legislation regarding the SES. One of the changes proposed by the amended proposal on the implementation of the SES is to create a permanent Performance Review Body (PRB) function, to be exercised by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This requires several amendments to Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, with a view to ensuring that the PRB functions are carried out with the necessary independence and expertise and with the required resources. Those changes are set out in the present proposal. The proposal lays down the composition of and relevant requirements regarding the bodies and function holders provided for with a view to enabling the EASA to act as PRB. It also lays down the tasks and powers of the EASA for these purposes such as the assessment and approval of performance plans of designated air traffic service providers, the provision of advice to the Commission regarding the network performance plan, the monitoring of performance, and the verification of unit rates of air traffic service providers. According to the proposal, the PRB shall have the following structure:

  • a regulatory board for performance review,
  • a director for performance review,
  • an advisory board for performance review,
  • an appeal board for performance review.

The PRB shall provide technical assistance to the European Commission, in the implementation of the SES, in particular by conducting technical and investigations, reviews of compliance, studies and projects; and by contributing to the implementation of the ATM Master Plan, including the development and deployment of the SESAR program. The PRB shall be financed by fees and charges. The EU budget shall not be affected.

The file has been has been allocated to the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN), the rapporteur is Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D, Poland). The TRAN committee held a first exchange of views on the file on 1 December 2020. Members focused their interventions on the independence of the PRB and its function within the EASA. Some Members raised concerns that the proposal would undermine the competences of national authorities over air traffic management or enquired about the potential costs incurred on airspace users. TRAN committee published its draft report on the file on 15 December 2020. The committee discussed the amendments to this report at its meeting on 25 February 2021. Most of these amendments revolved around the structures, the functioning and the competences of the PRB. Some amendments stressed also the need to consider climate and environment concerns.

The TRAN Committee adopted (39 votes in favour, 7 against, 2 abstentions,) on 17 June 2021 its mandate for the negotiations with the Council. It wanted that PRB would establish performance plans for airspace management. On this point, the Parliament needs to achieve a compromise with the Council. Namely, according to the general approach, adopted by the Council on 3 June 2021, the Council wants Member States to remain responsible for the performance planning process of air traffic service providers. The Council does not want a new structure to be created within the EASA for assessing the performance of air navigation service providers.

The interinstitutional negotiations started in July 2021 as the TRAN committee decided to open the negotiations with report adopted in TRAN committee (approved at EP plenary). Due to very different views, the co-legislators have had very difficult trilogue negotiations. They did not reach an agreement during the Slovenian Presidency and continued discussions during the French Presidency. In June 2022, the French Presidency of the Council of the EU submitted to the Member States a concept paper on the role of EASA  as the performance review body for the SES. In July 2022, Member States took stock of the main points on which the co-legislators have not been able to agree in trilogue negotiations. These include, for example, the representation of Member States in the PRB. Technical negotiations continue but little progress is made.

In the Commission 2023 Work Programme, the Commission said that this proposal is a priority pending proposal. In 2021, the Commission placed it under the priority 'A European Green Deal' but previously it was under a priority 'A Europe Fit for the Digital Age'.


Further reading:

Author: Monika Kiss, Members' Research Service,

As of 20/11/2022.