The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick McLoughlin): I will attend the first Transport Council of the Cypriot Presidency (the presidency) in Luxembourg on Monday 29 October.
The presidency hopes to achieve general approach on three proposals:
The first is a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules for the allocation of slots, repealing Council Directive 95/93/EC. The proposed regulation has been subject to intense official-level scrutiny by Council working groups and these discussions are ongoing. Progress to date has been mixed, but the proposition remains acceptable from a UK perspective. I believe that the resulting regulation could help promote the most effective use of airport slots and build on the existing transparent, market-based approach to encourage the more efficient use of scarce capacity at congested airports, while minimising administrative and financial burdens for industry. However, at this stage, it remains unclear whether or not it will be possible to seek a general approach at the October Council.
The second is a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the enforcement of certain provisions of the maritime labour convention by flag states. The proposed general approach represents a satisfactory outcome for the UK and I will support it as it allows appropriate flexibility to member states, and will not require the UK to make any substantive changes to its proposed implementation of the provisions of the maritime labour convention on flag state responsibilities.
The third is a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2009/16/EC on port state control. I will support the proposal which will not require the UK to make any substantive changes to its proposed implementation of the provisions of the maritime labour convention on port state responsibilities.
An orientation debate will be held on a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on roadworthiness testing for motor vehicles and their trailers (First Reading). The UK strongly supports the ongoing roadworthiness testing of vehicles as a worthwhile contribution to road safety.
However, the UK is very concerned by the potential cost burden of the European Commission’s proposal as it is currently framed. The UK alone has identified costs of over €1 billion without any discernible benefit in road safety. We have also identified significant administrative burdens embedded in the proposal that similarly would produce no road safety benefit. In the current economic climate the UK does not wish to see any additional cost to European citizens, businesses or Governments unless clearly justified by road safety benefits.
The presidency will be seeking a political agreement on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EEC) No 3821/85 on recording equipment in road transport and amending Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council (First Reading). The UK supports the proposal which strikes a sensible balance between improving the security of the tachograph while ensuring that additional burdens on industry and enforcement authorities are minimised.
The Council will be expected to adopt a proposal for a Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application of the agreement providing a general framework for enhanced co-operation between the European Union and the European organisation for the safety of air navigation (Eurocontrol). The UK supports the proposed agreement. It is important that the significant work Eurocontrol performs on behalf of the European Union is put on a sound contractual and financial basis to help ensure value for money from the proposed €40 million expenditure over four years.