In our earlier Report we recommended that the Council agree to give the Commission two mandates:
- to negotiate with non-EU states to persuade them to accept Community airline designation
instead of bilateral national airline designation in air service agreements (ASA);
- to negotiate a fully-liberalised Open Aviation Area with the United States of America (US).
At the 5/6 June Transport Council in Luxembourg, the Council agreed to give the Commission two mandates. One, to negotiate an air service agreement with the United States on behalf of the Community. The other, to negotiate on specific Community issues with other third countries, while allowing flexibility for Member States to negotiate and implement air service agreements bilaterally. The text of the two mandates is confidential and was not available to the Committee.
We examine the detail provided to us and conclude that the Council's mandates appear to be acceptable to UK national interests provided safeguards are introduced into the negotiations for an Open Aviation Area to prevent a phased negotiation from breaking down and leaving the UK in a worse position than it enjoys under the existing bilateral ASA with the US.