Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-10-22-Speech-3-484"

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"Madam President, Mr Vice-President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, I think that the previous speaker has simply not understood the dossier. What we are doing here is laying down rules for transparent provisions governing the levying of airport charges, the purpose of the whole exercise being to ensure that airport charges are set objectively and to reduce them for the benefit of users. That is our job. There are in fact two different situations. Some airports are so dominant that airlines basically face a monopoly situation and possibly pay overly high airport charges. At other, possibly small airports, an airline can decide whether or not to use the airport on the basis of how low the airport charges are, which is a totally different situation. I must therefore say that what Mr Stockmann has achieved in his report – and my thanks to him – is a good list of criteria for establishing correct, properly substantiated airport charges, which also have to be borne by passengers, with a national supervisory authority acting as the control body. Mr Vice-President, you will, of course, have to ensure over the next two years that the national supervisory authorities truly are independent. This means that national supervisory authorities must not be linked to airports or married to airlines. We insist that the supervisory authorities strike a fair balance between airlines and airports for the benefit of users. Secondly, using these new criteria, we also want to foster fairer competition between airports. In some cases, there are airports in two different Member States just a few kilometres from the border between them. We want to be sure that there is no unfair competition here. I believe that the new criteria are correct. Allow me to close with a question to you, Mr Vice-President. I believe that nearly two years have passed since the Commission issued guidelines for regional airports. Over the last few months, you have been investigating whether there have been illegal subsidies at some airports, by which I mean state subsidies for specific airports that distort competition. We should all like to know what your conclusions were. We hope that you can promise us today that you will present the investigation on illegal or legal regional aid soon, because there is one overriding issue here: we want fair competition between airports for the benefit of passengers."@en1

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