Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-07-02-Speech-3-248"

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". Mr President, we are on the home straight with a report, a Commission initiative which Parliament warmly welcomed and which we feel is one of the most important aspects of the work which the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism has carried out in recent years: a single European sky, with efficiency, safety and cost containment as its objectives. It is clear that the single sky is a practical combination of conduct and rules, certainly not a literary metaphor: rules and synergies which must be defined, applied and respected. Mr President, the Commission proposal had the merit – we pay tribute to the Commissioner, Mrs De Palacio, for this – of courageously raising this issue with force and with urgency, and within the deadlines. A year ago, Parliament commendably took up the Commission’s challenge at a difficult time, following 11 September, at a time when discussing safety in our skies required increased sensitivity, reasoning and attention. Parliament met this challenge, and gave its support with a broad, firm consensus to this draft, which was adopted at first reading and which was subject to certain simple rules which we hope will be reconfirmed and applied. The most basic rule is the necessary harmony, the necessary synergy between all the institutions, all the bodies, all the organisations which are involved in putting into practice the objectives of the single sky – efficiency, safety and keeping costs down – and, therefore, first and foremost, focus, punctuality and the definition of a clear relationship between Eurocontrol – the agency which has dealt with the technical expertise side of managing the European skies – and the Commission, the European Union. In this regard we have managed to reach a very specific balance which confers on the Commission the task, the responsibility of the management, of the political regulation of our single European sky, and calls on Eurocontrol to make available its expertise, its experience and its technical know-how. Another fundamental point is sanctions: a system of sanctions – which will, of course, be deferred until the various States have fully defined them – which can be used to punish the airlines and other parties concerned in the event that these rules are violated. The word ‘sanction’ is always an unpleasant word, a word which should always be spoken with great restraint and great care, but it is a necessary word in this case. It has been since the time of Cesare Beccaria: if we do not have a system of sanctions, it will be hard to be sure that rules will be respected. This is a system of rules which does not allow exceptions, apart from in certain very special cases; it is a system of rules based on respect, for otherwise the concept of a single sky would not be fully realised. The third point is cooperation between civil and military users. Cooperation between civil and military authorities is the distinguishing point: to this end, a single sky committee is provided for, in which the military are also to participate; there is also a safeguard clause which gives Member States the possibility of deferring certain single sky regulations should special situations or special emergencies arise, and this naturally lies first of all within the role and function of the armed forces and the military. Well, with regard to all these points, the common position may well have been affected by a climate which, following 11 September, is giving much greater consideration to national sovereignty and national security. It is, in any case, a position which we consider to be quite conservative. Cooperation between civil and military users is essentially pushed aside. The single sky is losing one of its major distinguishing characteristics. We feel that, in this respect, there may have been a certain naive short-sightedness. Cooperation between civil and military authorities should be considered not as a restriction on Member States’ sovereignty but as a great opportunity, an opportunity which, moreover, is guaranteed by an extended safeguard clause, which we have only prevented being extended to cover simple training too for otherwise the very concept of a single European sky would be undermined. Mr President, I do not have anything else to add. I have briefly summarised the basic developments of the political and institutional background to this report. I hope that, in the coming weeks and months, in a balanced trialogue with the other institutions, Parliament will be able to contribute to the swift definition of a set of regulations which will be a credit to the work of the Commission, the Council and, of course, Parliament, so that we will, at last, be able to provide the European citizens with a single, safe sky."@en1

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