HL Deb 16 October 1991 vol 531 cc103-4WA
Lord Gainford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the meeting of the European Community Transport Council on 7th October.

The Minister of State, Department of Transport (Lord Brabazon of Tara)

The meeting of the European Council of Transport Ministers was held in Luxembourg on 7th October. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport represented the United Kingdom.

Her Majesty's Government are pleased to report that the Council reached agreement in principle on important proposals on Aviation Technical Harmonisation and the mutual recognition of Cockpit Crew Licences.

The directive on the limitation of noisier (Chapter 2) aircraft was remitted for further study with the objective of reaching a final agreement at the December meeting of Transport Ministers.

The Council agreed that work should begin on the Third Aviation Package, with a view to completion by the end of June 1992. This work should include discussion on the definition of a Community air cargo carrier.

On the aviation arrangements with Norway and Sweden, a draft agreement has been approved in principle. As the Council considered that the proper legal base for the agreement was Article 84, this has now been passed to the European Parliament for their opinion. My right honourable friend reminded the Commission of the need for its report on state aids to the airline industry, which should be available for the next Council.

On land transport matters, a directive to harmonise the law on seat belt wearing was agreed which allows member states flexibility on how to apply the new arrangements. The Council also discussed, but reached no agreement on, proposals to liberalise bus and coach operations. My right honourable friend expressed his concern over the bureaucratic restrictions on operators' freedom to provide services that were inherent in the current approach. On transit, the Presidency provided details of the latest talks with Austria and Switzerland. The discussions are continuing.

On inland waterways matters, an agreement in principle was reached on cabotage. Agreement was also reached on a directive on reciprocal recognition of inland waterway boatmasters' certificates.