The European Union and Qatar reached an aviation agreement

On 4 March 2019, a strategic aviation agreement was signed between the European Union and the State of Qatar. The negotiations started in September 2016, involving observers from EU Member States and stakeholders. As stated by the Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, this is the first agreement concluded by the European Union in the framework of the Aviation Strategy for Europe, adopted in 2015. 

The agreement will ensure high standards on issues such as safety, security and air traffic management and representsa major upgrade compared to the 27 bilateral air transport agreements with EU Members States, which allow more than 7 million passengers to travel between the EU and Qatar yearly. Indeed, none of the existing bilateral agreements include environmental matters and commit both parties to improve social and labour policies. Moreover, the agreement includes provisions to protect competition, in order to avoid abuses and unfair conducts. 

The agreement envisages a gradual market opening, over a period of five years, to those EU Member States (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands) which have not yet fully liberalised direct connections for passengers. Moreover, business transactions will be facilitated by removing the existing obligations for EU airlines to work through a local sponsor. In order to reach these objectives, a common forum for meetings addressing any potential differences will be established, as well as mechanisms to quickly resolve any disputes.

The agreement will benefit all stakeholders. According to an independent economic study undertaken on behalf of the Commission, the new agreement will generate economic benefits of nearly 3 billion euro by the 2025, as well as creating around 2000 new jobs. 

Sara Capruzzi