European Commission must not open talks on air transport treaties with Gulf States

8 June 2016

European Commission must not open talks on air transport treaties with Gulf States

Foto: Darice

The Council of European Union Transport Minister yesterday adopted a negotiating mandate indicating that they wished the European Commission to conclude air transport treaties with a number of countries including Qatar and Turkey, countries which massively subsidise their airlines. While the Council, which directly represents the member states, dictates policy, the Commission will now have the task of working on the details of the treaties. SP Euro-MP immediately placed a number of critical questions on the mandate to European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.

‘The Gulf State carriers are so heavily financed by their states that they constitute unfair competition,” explains De Jong. “This works at the expense of European airlines, which it has to be said already have things difficult enough. I have asked the Commissioner, therefore, whether she feels she has indeed looked into this sufficiently, and that she not start negotiations with the Gulf States before such a thorough investigation has been completed.”

The SP works hard in both Brussels and The Hague to achieve a level playing field in air transport. At Dutch carrier KLM alone there are a good 30,000 people employed, and this unfair competition represents a direct threat to their jobs. “Evidently for both the European Commission and the Dutch government the belief in the market, even when there’s absolutely no question of fair competition, is more important than maintaining employment,” says De Jong. “It’s extremely disappointing, especially considering this is happening under the Dutch presidency, that the Transport Council has agreed to this misplaced negotiating mandate.”

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