Coronavirus: Commission welcomes political agreement on the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative and modified rules on airport slots

The European Commission welcomes the European Parliament’s adoption of the Commission’s proposal for a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative as well as the proposed amendments to the rules on airport slots. The Parliament’s adoption comes only one week after a political agreement between Member States was reached on the proposals, and within two weeks after the proposals were put on the table. To recall, on 13 March, the Commission made two legislative proposals to free up funding under the structural funds, to redirect and reprogramme Cohesion Policy funds and to extend the scope of the EU Solidarity Fund. The objective is to release and spend the money quickly to help with most pressing needs, whether these are hospital beds, keeping SMEs afloat or helping workers. In addition, the Commission also proposed to amend EU rules on airport slots. This measure will help both the European aviation industry and the environment, as it releases pressure on industry – in particular on smaller airlines – and it also decreases emissions by avoiding so-called ‘ghost flights’ where airlines fly almost empty aircrafts to keep their slots. Once the Council will have formally adopted the political agreements found, the new legislation can enter into force, to the direct benefit of all.