BRUSSELS, 7th June, 2016 (WAM) – On 7 June 2016, the Council of the European Union adopted mandates that allow the Commission to start negotiations on comprehensive EU-level air transport agreements with four key partners: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

The agreement with ASEAN is set to become the first EU bloc-to-bloc aviation agreement. The UAE, Qatar and Turkey are among the most dynamic and fastest growing aviation markets. All agreements are directed at allowing market development and growth based on common rules and transparency.

Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Netherlands Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment and chair of the Council meeting, said: “Europe is showing leadership in its external aviation policy with a balanced approach consisting of market opening based on fair and transparent market conditions.”

The goal of comprehensive EU-level aviation agreements is to create new business opportunities, improve market access and ensure fair competition under transparent market conditions. They also aim to increase Europe’s international connectivity and ensure a high quality of service for passengers. Airlines, airports and passengers will benefit from enhanced regulatory cooperation and convergence in areas such as aviation safety, aviation security and economic regulation.

The Commission will carry out the negotiations on behalf of the EU and its member states.