EU seeks role in air talks
Negotiations between the two on the sensitive Bermuda II bilateral agreement collapsed recently.
The Commission is worried that if the discussions go ahead Britain will undermine efforts to liberalise European aviation, according to a Commission official yesterday. "We fear that this will have a distorting impact," she said.
The Commission wants to handle such negotiations itself. It is preparing a mandate to negotiate a Europe-wide agreement with the US, and hopes to finalise this in mid-May before getting approval from EU member states in June. Before then, it wants details of the Anglo-US talks from Brian Mawhinney, the transport minister.
Mr Kinnock, former leader of the Labour Party, has already threatened legal action against six EU countries - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Sweden - that have held "open skies" talks with the US. The pacts are intended to make it easier for airlines to fly to and from the countries affected.
The Commission fears that while this will lead to greater access to European destinations for US airlines, the European carriers will not benefit. It is preparing a letter, to be sent to Britain in the next few days, requesting information on the talks with the US. It believes these concern cargo rather than passenger traffic.
Mr Kinnock has tried to emphasise that the Commission is not pursuing the issue purely to gain influence in a very sensitive sector.
"Of course, we are sensitive to the fact that member states want to pursue their own track," the Commission official said, but she argued that fragmentation of efforts to reach agreement on transatlantic travel could undermine EU moves to liberalise European aviation.
Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay
World news in pictures
X marks the spot: The find that could rewrite Australian history
At least 91 feared dead including 20 children as massive tornado rips through Oklahoma
- 1 Tottenham to smash pay scale with £150,000-a-week contract in attempt to tie Gareth Bale to club
- 2 Austerity has hardened the nation's heart
- 3 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 4 Be more professional! GCHQ staff rapped as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reveals messages that he says point to 'fit up'
- 5 Top A&E doctors warn: 'We cannot guarantee safe care for patients anymore'
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
iJobs Money & Business
£500 per day: Orgtel: A top tier banking client urgently requires Finance Busi...
£425 - £550 per day: Orgtel: Senior Finance Project Manager - £550 - Bristol -...
£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: KYC Analyst - London - Banking - £150-250/day C...
£500 per day: Orgtel: A top tier banking client urgently requires Finance Gove...