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Document 52003PC0674

Opinion of the Commission pursuant to Article 251 (2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the safety of third countries aircraft using Community airports amending the proposal of the Commission pursuant to Article 250 (2) of the EC Treaty

/* COM/2003/0674 final - COD 2002/0014 */

52003PC0674

Opinion of the Commission pursuant to Article 251 (2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the safety of third countries aircraft using Community airports amending the proposal of the Commission pursuant to Article 250 (2) of the EC Treaty /* COM/2003/0674 final - COD 2002/0014 */


OPINION OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 251 (2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the safety of third countries aircraft using Community airports AMENDING THE PROPOSAL OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 250 (2) of the EC Treaty

2002/0014 COD

OPINION OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 251 (2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the safety of third countries aircraft using Community airports

1. Introduction

Article 251(2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty provides that the Commission is to deliver an opinion on the amendments proposed by the European Parliament at second reading. The Commission sets out its opinion below on the 5 amendments proposed by Parliament.

2. Background

a) On 14 January 2002, the Commission transmitted to the Council and the European Parliament its proposal for a Directive (COM(2002) 8 final - 2002/0014(COD)).

b) The European Economic and Social Committee delivered an opinion supporting the Commission's proposal on 17 July 2002.

c) The Committee of the Regions decided not to deliver an opinion.

d) On 3 September 2002, the European Parliament, at its first reading, delivered its opinion, containing 19 amendments to the Commission proposal.

e) On 26 November 2002 (COM(2002) 664 final), the Commission adopted, in accordance with Article 250(2) of the Treaty, an amended proposal incorporating, wholly or in part 13 and rejecting 6 of the amendments adopted by Parliament.

f) The Council adopted its common position on 28 March 2003.

g) On 9 October 2003, the European Parliament adopted, at the second reading, a resolution containing 5 amendments to the common position.

3. Purpose of the proposal

The objective of the proposal for a directive is to improve air safety by ensuring third countries aircraft using Community airports comply with international safety standards.

To this end, Member States are required to ensure that information is collected and disseminated so that sufficient evidence can be established to decide on measures required to ensure the safety of the travelling public as well as of people on the ground.

Provision is made to ensure that third country aircraft, their operation and crew are inspected, in particular whenever there is reasonable suspicion that international safety standards are not being met. If it is felt necessary to ensure immediate safety, such aircraft are grounded and appropriate measures for rectification of identified shortcomings are decided and implemented.

4. Opinion of the Commission on the amendments by the European Parliament

The European Parliament adopted at second reading 5 amendments to the Common Position of the Council.

The Commission can accept 2 amendments in full, 1 in part and 1 in principle, subject to redrafting.

It has nonetheless to reject 1 amendment in full.

4.1. Amendments accepted by the Commission

The Commission believes that amendments 2, 3, 4 and 5 constitute welcome improvements to the text of the common position.

4.1.1. Amendments accepted in full (2 amendments).

Amendment 4 (on Art. 11.1) reintroduces the two years period for the transposition of the directive by the Member States. This was the timeframe proposed initially by the Commission and changed to three years by the Council in its common position. Due to the fact that the discussions on the first Commission proposal started in 1997 and that implementation of ramp checks is already in force according to the SAFA (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft) programme under the auspices of the European Civil Aviation Conference, a two years period should be sufficient to enable the Member States to adapt their legislation.

Amendment 5 (on Art. 13) reduces to four years the timeframe for the publication by the Commission of a report on the application of the directive. The common position of the Council proposed five years. This reduction of one year is the logical consequence of the reduction in the transposition period proposed in Amendment 4. In this way, it maintains a two years period for the analysis of the application of the directive.

4.1.2. Amendment accepted in part (1 amendment).

Amendment 2 (on Art. 6.2) aims to give more specific requirements for the content of the annual public report on the inspection programme that the Commission will issue. The Commission is ready to accept that this report should also be available to the industry stakeholders and that all information received will be taken into account. However, the requirement that this report should be open to only one interpretation is not acceptable as interpretation is always subjective and entails diversity. In addition, publishing statements evaluating increased safety risks on the sole basis of inspection reports may, in certain circumstances lead to unjustified harm to particular operators or States while other aircraft could suffer an accident in spite of clean inspection reports. The Commission cannot therefore accept the second part of this amendment.

4.1.3. Amendment accepted in principle, subject to redrafting (1 amendment).

Amendment 3 (on Art. 9.b) aims at redressing the weakening of the position of the Commission when proposing measures against operators or States which do not apply international safety standards. However, in order to be consistent with the comitology procedure referred to in this paragraph, the Commission will add the wording "recommend to" between the words "moreover," and "extend".

4.2. Amendment rejected by the Commission

Amendment 1 (on Art. 5.2) requires that the European Aviation Safety Agency should, in addition to the Commission, receive the reports issued by the Member States. Although the Commission agrees that the EASA should be informed of the results of the inspections carried out on Community airports, pending the adoption of a modification of Regulation 1592/2002 setting up the Agency, this subject does not fall into its field of competences. As a consequence, the Commission can not accept this amendment.

5. Conclusion

Pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty, the Commission amends its proposal as set out above.

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