Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-14-Speech-1-147"

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"More and more journeys are being made in Europe and to Europe, but it is becoming increasingly expensive to travel in and to our continent. The factors giving rise to this higher cost, such as the increased price of oil, security costs and the reduction of CO2 emissions, are persistent factors that are very clearly here to stay. In this context, our goal must be to encourage a truly competitive airport market, which is only viable where there is transparency and predictability. These are, I believe, the main virtues of this proposal for a directive in its version currently being debated, to which Mr Stockmann has significantly contributed. One of its particular virtues is the set of general rules for determining and levying airport charges, which lay down common principles to prevent any abuse of a dominant position. As these rules apply to around 70% of airports, this very correctly avoids imposing legislation on smaller or regional airports where this risk does not exist. In addition, as regards situations such as those that exist in Portugal or Finland, for example, where air traffic is managed by associations or networks of airports, provision is made for harmonised charges for all, provided that they are compatible with competition rules. The following points must also be highlighted: the establishment of a duty for airport operators and users to exchange information, transparency requirements and the method of calculating airport charges. The creation of an independent national regulatory authority that will intervene only in the event of definitive disagreement over a decision on airport charges will also contribute to the proper functioning of the market. Finally, I must conclude, Mr President, by saying that the definition of strict and transparent criteria for using charges to pre-finance new airport infrastructure projects simultaneously protects the public interest in the development of airports and new airport infrastructures and also the rights of passengers, in other words consumers, whose interests must, after all, be the main focus of our attention."@en1

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