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EU Transport Ministers Reiterated Full support to Continuation of Galileo Project

Luxembourg, 2 October – At today’s Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council Meeting, the EU transport ministers have unanimously adopted conclusions to reiterate the importance of Galileo as a key European project and, according to the conclusions of June's meeting of the Council of Ministers, again stressed the need to continue the implementation of EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) programme in order to ensure full access to its services until 2008.

They also emphasised that additional funds will be required if we are to ensure a fully operational Galileo until 2013. The ministers were in favour of a balanced participation of all Member States in the development, setting-up and operation of the system Galileo, which was also stressed by our Transport Minister, Mr. Radovan Žerjav, during the discussion. The ministers re-confirmed their intention to adopt a comprehensive decision on the European satellite navigation system before the end of this year. During the discussion, Mr. Žerjav underlined that Galileo project needs to be developed further and that it is necessary to act in order to adopt an integrated decision as soon as possible. He also stated that the final success will depend on active participation of all Member States both on the level of the Community as well as on the national level.

In the second part of the meeting, the ministers have concluded the second phase of adopting legislative proposals (general approach) in the field of land transport, namely the proposals regarding road infrastructure safety management, interoperability of the railway system and the safety on Community's railways.

The Proposal for a Directive on Road Infrastructure Safety Management puts main emphasis on the elimination of particularly dangerous locations (so-called black spots) and ensuring suitable level of transport safety on TEN-T network.
The Proposal for a Directive on the Interoperability of the Community’s Rail System represents the unification of the Directive on the interoperability of trans-European high-speed railway system and the Directive on the interoperability of the conventional trans-European railway system into a single directive, since it is no longer necessary to have two distinct directives in this field.

The Proposal for a Directive on Community Railway Safety is aimed at rationalising the procedures of mutual recognition of railway vehicles conformity (in terms of free flow of these vehicles), unifying safety certificates and the processes of licensing companies to issue safety certificates.

As far as air transport is concerned, the Council of Ministers was informed about the conclusions of the 36th Assembly of International Civil Aviation Organisation – ICAO. The Ministers granted the European Commission with a mandate to start negotiations with Canada in order to reach an agreement on regular air transport. They also adopted the conclusions regarding the Commission’s communication on “Action plan to increase capacity, effectiveness and safety of airports in Europe“, with which the Commission tries to initiate a better harmonised airport planning in Europe.

In the field of maritime transport, the ministers adopted a resolution on setting-up European Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships Data Centre (LRIT). The new text introduces compulsory long range tracking and identification of ships for all passenger and cargo ships whose gross weight exceeds 300 tons. Since the resolution provides that the setting-up and the operation of the European LRIT Data Centre will be covered out of the Community’s budget and that the possibility of compatibility with Automatic Identification of Ships (AIS) system, which is used in Slovenia, will be respected in the process of developing the LRIT system, Mr. Žerjav supported the resolution.