Dáil Éireann - Volume 615 - 01 March, 2006

Written Answers. - Air Services.

  159. Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Transport the discussions currently taking place between his Department officials and EU Commission aviation officials; the way in which these discussions relate to the dual gateway policy at Shannon Airport and to the EU open skies agreement with the US; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8436/06]

  Mr. Cullen: My officials have liaised closely with officials from the European Commission at all stages during the negotiations of the draft air transport agreement between the United States of America and the European Community, the text of which was agreed last November, and, in particular, regarding the transitional arrangement for Shannon Airport that forms part of that agreement.

  160. Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Transport the extent to which the Government will be curtailed by Article 14 of the EU draft open skies agreement with the US from implementing an emissions trading scheme; his position and that of the Government’s regarding Article 14; if the Government will be proposing amendments to [1827] Article 14 to the European Commission prior to the agreement being ratified by the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8437/06]

  Mr. Cullen: Neither the Government nor the European Community are in any way curtailed from implementing an emissions trading scheme by Article 14 of the draft air transport agreement between the United States of America and the European Community.

Article 14 of the draft EU-US agreement deals with the environment. The draft text makes it clear that any party to the agreement, including the European Community and each member state individually, may adopt environmental measures in aviation policy without any obligation to agree those measures with the other party, such as the US, beforehand. The memorandum of consultations to the draft agreement makes this clear by stating the two delegations emphasised that nothing in the agreement affects in any way their respective legal and policy positions on various aviation related environmental issues.

The European Commission is clear that there is nothing in the draft agreement that will prevent it from proposing environmental measures such as emissions trading for aviation and I understand the Commission will be making such a proposal later this year. Ireland will consider its response when the details of the proposals are available. In light of the above, there is no reason to propose any changes to Article 14 of the draft agreement and I will not be doing so.