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Ash cloud focuses minds of EU transport ministers on air space reforms


05 May 2010



With air traffic control restrictions once again affecting parts of the EU as a result of the volcanic ash cloud blowing back towards the EU, pressure was on EU transport ministers today to back European Commission proposals to strengthen EU air traffic coordination by speeding up agreement on a Single European Sky.

Members of the ALDE group welcome the support for the Commission to improve EU responsiveness in the event of future cases of 'force majeure' that leave tens of thousands of EU passengers stranded abroad and airlines on the point of bankruptcy.

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader commented:

"After years of procrastination from Member States it finally took a volcanic ash cloud hanging over the heads of EU states for them to see sense on closer air space coordination. Commissioner Kallas has done a good job. He has put forward some sensible suggestions that should make a big difference to more efficient management of our air space and our collective response in the event of future natural or man-made disasters that risk paralysing our air transport system."

"We should learn from other regions around the world like Indonesia where eruptions are a more common occurrence," said Gesine Meissner (FDP, Germany), ALDE coordinator on the transport committee, "We now expect the Commission to make quick progress in fleshing out its proposals for improved air transport coordination but not to allow passenger rights to be watered down in the process."

For more information, please contact:

Neil Corlett: +32-2-284 20 77 or +32-478-78 22 84


Federica Terzi: +32-2-283 23 24 or +32-494 18 88 31


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