Written statement to Parliament

EU Transport Council: agenda for 1 December 2016

Summarises items on the upcoming EU Transport Council agenda including aviation safety and safety on passenger ships.

The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP

I will attend the only Transport Council under the Slovakian Presidency (the Presidency) taking place in Brussels on Thursday 1 December.

The Presidency is aiming for a general approach on the proposed regulation on common rules in the field of civil aviation safety and establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency. The proposed general approach embodies the principle of proportionality and encourages the use of performance based regulations. It also makes small but appropriate extensions to the scope of the European Aviation Safety Agency’s responsibilities.

The Presidency is also aiming for general approaches on 2 proposals aimed to simplifying and streamlining existing passenger ship safety legislation.

The first of these is an amending directive on safety rules and standards for passenger ships. This directive sets harmonised safety standards for seagoing passenger ships operating on domestic routes throughout the UK, and the proposed amendments look to simplify the current legislation. In particular, this deregulatory approach proposes that standards for passenger ships below 24 metres are better suited to regulation at national level.

The second is a proposal for a directive on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft in regular service. The proposed revision updates, clarifies and simplifies the existing survey (inspection) requirements for ro-ro ferries and high-speed passenger craft, while maintaining the same level of safety and key delivery mechanisms.

There will be a progress report on a related proposal to amend 2 directives; one on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from ports of the member states of the Community, and one on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the member states. Negotiations are at an early stage, and the Presidency’s progress report summarises the discussions so far. Discussions on this proposal will continue during the forthcoming Maltese presidency in 2017.

The Presidency has proposed a policy debate on the extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) blending, which provides further funding for EFSI. The proposal will continue to enhance the financial case for projects and value for money from the EU budgets.

Under any other business, the Commission will provide an update on the outcome of the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation held in September and October 2016, combined with the latest developments in the International Maritime Organisation.

The Commission will also provide information on the state of play on security in the transport sector, its planned package of road initiatives, road safety, developments in EU-type approval legislation and the progress made on the implication of the ’emissions irregularities’.

The Commission will update on the state of play on GALILEO, present its European Strategy for Low Emission Mobility, and provide information on its initiative on ‘Women in Transport’.

The Cyprus Delegation will provide information on the draft common aviation area agreement between the Republic of Turkey and the European Union and its member states.

The Dutch Delegation will then update the Council on cooperation in the field of connected and automated driving.

Finally, the Maltese delegation will inform the Council on the work programme for their forthcoming Presidency.

Published 29 November 2016