APPENDIX 2 Transport, Telecommunications
and Energy Council
Mr Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for
Transport what the outcome was of the Transport, Telecommunications
and Energy Council held on 5 and 6 June 2003; what the Government's
stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record;
and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jamieson: The transport segment of the
Transport, Energy and Telecommunications Council was held in Luxembourg
on 5 and 6 June 2003. My right hon. Friend, the then Minister
of State for Transport (Mr Spellar) represented the United Kingdom.
The Council agreed a three-part package on aviation
external relations. This includes mandates for the Commission
to negotiate an air service agreement with the US on behalf of
the Community, and to negotiate on specific Community issues with
other third countries, while allowing flexibility for member states
to negotiate and implement air service agreements bilaterally.
We welcome this package as a pragmatic and balanced response to
the European Court of Justice rulings in the `open skies' cases,
and my right hon. Friend spoke in support of it.
A general approach was reached on a Regulation suspending
the use-it-or-lose-it rule for airport slot allocation for the
summer season 2003 for application in summer 2004, because of
the exceptional circumstances-the Iraq conflict and SARS-that
affected passenger demand.
There were written reports to the Council on progress
on two legislative proposals in aviation, the draft Regulations
on insurance requirements and protection against unfair pricing
practices by third countries.
There was a debate on a draft regulation on ship
and port facility security. Further work will be done in COREPER
with a view to agreement at the October Council. There was a consensus
that work should focus on implementing the IMO regime for international
traffic and the possible extension to Class A passenger ships
on domestic voyages (primarily those travelling more than 20 nautical
miles from the coast). We support this Regulation, which will
ensure the consistent application of IMO requirements agreed last
December. We expressed our concern at the automatic application
to shorter domestic voyages at Council.
Council Conclusions were agreed on improving the
image of Community shipping and attracting young people to the
seafaring profession. We welcome this initiative and my right
hon. Friend proposed that there should be a review of progress
during the UK Presidency in 2005, following a Commission report.
This was welcomed by the Commission and the Presidency.
Written reports were submitted to the Council on
designation of particularly sensitive sea areas and on the outcome
of the IMO Diplomatic Conference of 12 to 16 May 2003 to adopt
a Protocol to the International Convention on the Establishment
of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage,
Council Conclusions were agreed supporting the integration
of EGNOS (project for enhancement of the GPS system in Europe)
and the Galileo satellite navigation project. We are in favour
of the integration of EGNOS and Galileo.
The Commission reported on progress of the High
Level Group of member states and acceding country representatives
looking at future priorities for the transport Trans-European
Network. The Group's report will be submitted to the Commission,
which will bring forward proposals.
Council Conclusions were agreed on the Commission's
Road Safety Action Plan, entitled `Halving the Number of Road
Accident Victims in the European Union by 2010: A Shared Responsibility'.
We welcomed the document and said that, where legislative measures
are in prospect, they will have a much better chance of early
acceptance by the Council if careful consideration of proportionality
and subsidiarity issues is given beforehand. My right hon. Friend
referred to the UK's good record on road safety, which showed
the value of our approach. The UK was one of the member states
singled out by the Commission as models for best practice in reducing
There was a written report on progress on the draft
Directive on minimum safety requirements on tunnels in the trans-European
road network. Several member states, including the UK, although
supporting the general aim of improving safety, have had concerns
about some of the detailed technical provisions in this Directive.
The Commission recognised that further technical work needs to
be done and that there is a need for flexibility in application.
The Council will aim to reach agreement on the Directive later
The Commission reported on its plans for transport
infrastructure charging. It plans to issue a proposal on a revised
Eurovignette system for the charging of HGVs before the summer
break. A number of member states called for rapid progress to
be made on expected wider proposals for transport infrastructure
charging. My right hon. Friend called for proposals which will
support the implementation of the UK's own lorry charging scheme.
No formal votes were taken at this Council.
Hansard: House of Commons-Written Answers-17
June 2003 Cols. 111W-113W