Revision of the EU Emission Trading System for Aviation - Related Opinions
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Aviation is one of the sectors most badly affected by the Corona crisis and the EU Member States are willing to assist all economic sectors in the recovery process. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that global economic activities will regain pre-Corona levels in the near future. For this reason, the EESC calls upon the Commission to develop a comprehensive road map for the recovery of the entire European aviation sector; such an action plan should include dedicated resources to support all sub-sectors and their workforce.
The EESC underlined repeatedly that international aviation can only assume its role as an enabler for economic growth sustainably, if highest levels of safety are maintained. Prerequisites for safety are uniform standards which are implemented by all stakeholders and monitored by empowered agencies. Brexit may jeopardise such standards and uniform application in Europe in the field of aviation safety, because the pertinent EU regulations could no longer apply to UK aviation stakeholders as of March 2019.
In an – increasingly probable – "no Withdrawal Agreement" scenario, the legislation of the EU, in particular Regulation 1008/2008, would cease to apply for air services between the UK and the EU. This creates legal uncertainty, jeopardises planning stability and endangers continued connectivity for services between the UK and the EU. The EESC supports the thrust of the proposed Regulation as a contingency measure to secure basic air connectivity.
The aeronautical industry is one of the EU's key high-tech sectors in the global market. The industry directly employs 500 000 people in high quality jobs (1 million adding indirect jobs) and consists of an ecosystem of large and small companies covering the entire spectrum of aeronautics. (Source: ASD Facts and Figures)
The EU aeronautical industry is a technological leader in its field and currently has a market share of about one third of the global market. The industry provides a positive contribution to the EU trade balance (EUR 46 billion in EU exports). (Source: ASD Facts and Figures)
This leadership should not be taken for granted since the industry faces many challenges.
The EESC welcomes the Third Mobility Package, however, it notes that the Commission's proposal is limited almost exclusively to road transport. In order to develop effectively sustainable and safe mobility, a more ambitious project needs to be developed, taking all available forms of transport into consideration, with a particular focus on intermodality in freight and passenger transport.
The EESC opinion on the Commission package "Aviation: Open and Connected Europe" welcomes the European Commission's proposals as a step towards implementing the "Aviation Strategy for Europe" from December 2015. This is of key importance in light of multiple challenges faced by the stakeholders of the aviation sector, including the development of markets in multiple directions, growing pressure on people and companies, increasing competition inside and outside the EU, and new disruptive technologies and digitalisation. The package "Aviation: Open and Connected Europe" – with its one legislative and three non-legislative proposals – addresses some of these challenges.
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