Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-14-Speech-1-139"

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"Mr President, the Commission talks much about promoting competitiveness in industry and about cutting red tape, but its walk in these issues is often one that takes Europe in quite the opposite direction, and so it seems to me with its stance on air travel. Having championed increased costs for air travellers through green taxes, we now have a proposed directive on airport charges which will inevitably drive up costs for the flying public. Regional airports are my particular concern. They have been a catalyst for progress in many regional economies: they have opened up markets; they have made the inaccessible accessible; they have been indispensable in economic transformation. And now, true to form, the Commission wishes, effectively, to stifle them with the heavy hand of bureaucracy, burying innovation under a mountain of reporting requirements for which the traveller will ultimately pay. I say this to the Commission: if the genuine reason for this directive is to tackle the abuse of dominant position in the market, then why does it include regional airports at all, when they are not the problem? In my own constituency of Northern Ireland, its airports are key to its development, yet last week, when President Barroso was providing sound bites of support for Northern Ireland – and on the very day that we open a new route between Belfast and Heathrow – we have this Commission proposal which will hike costs and discourage expansion. For those reasons, and without apology, I will vote against this proposal."@en1

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