HC Deb 16 October 2003 vol 411 c287W
Mrs. Dunwoody

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultation his Department has held with the UK aviation industry about the transfer of legislative powers to negotiate with the USA from the UK to the European Commission. [132559]

Mr. McNulty

The granting of a mandate for the European Commission to negotiate a liberalised transatlantic open aviation area with the US was an integral part of a balanced package of measures on the conduct of aviation external relations agreed in the light of the European Court of Justice's decision in November 2002 in the "Open Skies" cases. The details of a possible mandate for the Commission to open aviation negotiations with the United States were under frequent discussion in Council and its Working Groups for several years, beginning with the so-called "soft rights" mandate agreed by Council in June 1996. Throughout this period the Department was in regular dialogue, both at Ministerial and official level, with all interested parties on our aviation relations with the US, including the prospects for comprehensive Community-level negotiations.

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