Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-14-Speech-1-140"

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"Thank you, Mr President, ladies and gentlemen. First, my apologies for the delay and thank you for allowing me the floor. The creation of a transparent system for airport charges is of paramount importance since there is currently no standardised regulation governing this. The Commission’s Framework Directive has provided for a method of levying airport charges but gives Member States enough room for movement too. Airports and air traffic are of particular importance to the European Union since they are a link with the regions, create jobs and attract businesses. They make a significant contribution to social and economic cohesion in the EU. With privatisation and the arrival of commercial players, the previous balance in airport charges has been thrown a little out of kilter. The airlines complain that the major airports behave as a monopoly. This problem is cured by the draft Directive which promotes proper market competition since the proposal states that the charging systems and the airports setting them cannot discriminate between the different airlines. With certain exceptions the charges must reflect the real costs of services or infrastructure. Objective and clear criteria must be established for any charge differentiation or increase, so that users of airline and airport services pay clearly identified prices – the same charge for identical services. The consultation mechanism we are introducing is also important. If the airlines are not satisfied with the charges levied on their behalf they can have recourse to an independent regulatory authority. Finally, I feel it is very important to put on record the need for the Commission of the European Union to prepare a report on the success of the Directive for the European Council and the European Parliament within 4 years of its inception. This report would assess results and show whether the objectives of the regulation have been achieved. Thank you."@en1

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