New Spanish Council Presidency commits to advancing the Single European Sky

In this article, we analyse the latest policy developments surrounding the Single European Sky in view of the new Spanish Presidency of the Council which has included this key piece of legislation among its main priorities in the Presidency programme.

As Spain assumes the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, it places strong emphasis on advancing the Single European Sky (SES2+), which plays a pivotal role in enhancing competitiveness and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the European airspace. With the upcoming trilogue negotiations approaching, EBAA continues to closely monitor the final stages of this long-awaited legislation.

The new rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (Council) has been assigned to Spain as of the 1st of July 2023 for a six-month term. During this 6-month period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the Council. This fundamental European Institution gathers national government ministers from each Member State, grouped by policy area and, jointly with the European Parliament, negotiates, agrees and adopts European laws.

As customary for a new Presidency taking office, the Spanish Presidency published its political programme, setting out the policy priorities it aims to take forward during its tenure.

In the transport section of the programme, it is stated that the Spanish Presidency will seek to achieve the greatest possible progress in negotiations with the European Parliament on revising the regulation of the SES2+ initiative, highlighting its crucial to competitiveness and to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the European aviation sector.

The Spanish Presidency’s commitment to advancing this key piece of legislation is timely as a fourth round of trilogue negotiations (informal interinstitutional discussions involving the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council) on the SES2+ is provisionally expected to take place in the coming weeks with a view to reaching an agreement.

Moreover, there seems to be substantial political alignment around the SES2+, as the Commission has also indicated in its 2023 Work Programme that the file will be part of its priority pending files for 2023.

If the European Parliament and the Council reach an agreement during trilogues, the text of the agreement will be submitted to the European Parliament’s TRAN Committee for approval and then to the plenary for adoption.

Once adopted by the Parliament’s plenary, the text will be formally approved by the Council.

In this case, the procedure would be concluded at first reading and the legislative act would be published in the Official Journal and enter into force.

As explained in a previous EBAA Industry Update, the Single European Sky initiative has long been obstructed by EU Member States due to a mix of issues related to national interests, complex governance structure, technical challenges, and funding issues among others. Throughout this lengthy and complicated legislative process, EBAA has advocated for including Business aviation within the scope of the regulation.

EBAA welcomes the renewed impetus provided by the Spanish Presidency to this crucial file for the decarbonisation of the European airspace and remain vigilant in monitoring upcoming legislative stages.

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