International aviation: Council greenlights signing of major agreements with four countries

The Council today gave the go-ahead for the signing of three neighbourhood aviation agreements – with Ukraine, Armenia and Tunisia ­– as well as an air transport agreement with Qatar. These agreements will open up the air transport market, offering new opportunities for both consumers and operators. Through more efficient connectivity, they will promote trade, tourism, investment and economic and social development.

The Council is now ready to sign four important aviation agreements that will improve market access for airlines and enhance connectivity and freedom of movement for citizens. At the same time, they will ensure the highest level of safety and security and provide for a level playing field.

Pedro Nuno Santos, Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, President of the Council

The three neighbourhood agreements will remove market restrictions in relation to the EU’s neighbouring countries and associate these countries with the EU’s internal aviation market, as they will adopt EU aviation standards and implement EU aviation rules.

The agreement with Qatar will open the market equally with all 27 member states, upgrading the rules and standards that currently exist for flights between Qatar and the EU. This is the first such agreement between the EU and a Gulf country.

All four agreements contain robust environmental, social and fair competition clauses with strong enforcement mechanisms to avoid any distortions of competition or other abuses.

The decisions on Ukraine, Armenia and Qatar enable application of the agreement on a provisional basis, pending the completion of the procedures necessary for its entry into force.

The four agreements are expected to be signed in autumn 2021. Every agreement will then need to be ratified by each member state, the Union and the other party.

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