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". Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I have no hesitation in defining as a historical step the approval of this regulation on the Single Sky, which is the work of myself and my colleague Mrs Sanders-ten Holte, and of many Members who have contributed over the last two years to make this a fundamental commitment for our Parliament. I consider it important because it allows us to extend our philosophy, our challenge to also see European integration in our skies, and it enables us to attain two fundamental objectives: the first, immediate aim, is to create an integrated air space, governed by the same rules, the same guarantees; second, it also enables us to review the concept of sovereignty in order to adapt it more completely to the process of European integration in which we are currently investing our energy and resources. The first objective that this regulation has certainly achieved is that of safety. A report drawn up a few days ago lists the last 18 air incidents, the last 18 major air disasters recorded since 11 September 2001: we have calculated the total number of deaths at 2300. Not one of these disasters is linked to terrorist acts; they are air disasters linked to problems concerned with flight safety. So, in this sense our regulation makes a fundamental contribution. If air traffic grows at the same rate at which it has grown in recent years and if we do not take steps in relation to safety, as we are seeking to do with this regulation, then in the year 2015 – according to forecasts – we will have a disaster of this scale every week. The Single Sky is a fundamental contribution, a contribution that also seeks to have spin-offs in terms of organisation, efficiency and good sense. Currently in Europe there are 41 different air traffic control centres, each often having its own rules, with its own flight paths, its own corridors, its own flight quotas. From Rome to Brussels one passes through the hands of seven different flight control centres, and handovers are not always smooth: consider what happened over Lake Constance a few years ago when as a result of a misunderstanding between two flight control centres during a handover an aeroplane crashed to the ground. As a result of this regulation safety will once again become the priority of European policies. Another priority the regulation would appear to have established concerns costs and timetables. The growth of European traffic will take us from seven million flights in 1997 to twelve million flights by 2010, and today one in five flights experiences more than 20 minutes delay. It is clear that efficiency in terms of timetables and costs makes our companies competitive in the market: the US has more or less the same geographical area as Europe, but they have double the number of aeroplanes in the air and much shorter delays. How have we attempted to deal with these points and these issues? We did so with the committed and knowledgeable support of the Commission, represented by the Commissioner, Mrs De Palacio, and with the good sense shown by the Council in this difficult conciliation phase. There are three points I want to touch on briefly: the first naturally concerns civil-military cooperation. In the compromise finally reached it was decided that explicit reference should be made to the statement of the Member States on military matters. In that statement the Member States acknowledge that air space can be used in a safe and efficient manner only if there is close cooperation between civil and military authorities. We consider it a milestone in the process of European integration: for the first time the military top brass of all fifteen European countries understand that the European skies are not anyone’s property and that a balance must be struck – at the highest possible level in terms of quality – between the defence requirements of all Member States and the safety requirements that are the main concern of the customers, that is to say European citizens. The second important point is the role played by Eurocontrol. We have attempted to take on board and make good use of, in terms of experience and efficiency, what Eurocontrol stands for and the role it could play in constructing this integrated European single space. To achieve that goal required cooperation whilst avoiding the duplication of roles and functions; cooperation with the European Institutions and the Commission is a must for this regulation. It has been established that Eurocontrol will be able to participate as an observer in the meetings of the Committee on the Single Sky; we are therefore moving towards a major stage in the contribution that Eurocontrol will be able to make. Finally, provision has been made for sanctions, at Parliament’s request, on the basis of an elementary principle taught us by Beccaria: without sanctions, without the threat of sanctions, it is difficult for any legal principles to be respected. Mr President, I believe that the merit of this regulation – and of the European Institutions that have contributed to its achievement – lies in having again overcome certain national concerns and egoistic considerations. A European Single Sky from 1 January 2005 will provide clear confirmation that Europe is growing, that the process of integration is developing and that that process is also synonymous with the quality and safety of our lives."@en1

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