On January 28, 2016 in Prishtina took place the ninth Joint Committee meeting of the European Common Aviation Area Agreement. The meeting was attended by parties to the Agreement: the European Commission, representatives of the Western Balkan countries as well as representatives from six EU Member States. There were also participants from the aviation industry.
The Joint Committee is the highest supervisory body of the Agreement and in meetings of this body is discussed the progress and challenges in implementing the Agreement.
Minister of Infrastructure of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Lutfi Zharku, held the opening speech on behalf of the host country during which he mentioned the accomplishments and hopes for the development of the civil aviation sector in the Republic of Kosovo.
Mr. Carlos Bermejo Acosta, Head of Unit for International Aviation Issues at the European Commission, as chair of the meeting emphasized the high level of traffic increase between the EU and the Western Balkan countries of 8.7% on average annually in the last five years compared with a growth of only 2.5% in the EU in general. He said that in 2015 in the region were served 11 million air passengers.
The Joint Committee then discussed issues related to unfair competition and state aid, raised by the issue of state aid provided by the Macedonian state.
The parties were also interested to know about different legal issues regarding ratification and manner of implementation of the Agreement. The Commission representatives made presentations on developments in the EU about the legislation in the fields of airports, aviation safety and security, air traffic management and status and plans for air agreements with third parties. A presentation on developments in the European Security Agency Aviation and EASA IPA 3 program financed by the EC was made by the representative of EASA, Mr. Dieter Gaupman.
Mr. Bermejo Acosta closed the meeting stating his hope that the entry into force of the Agreement will be very soon, which may prompt holding of the next meeting sooner agreed to take place in Macedonia. He considered the meeting very successful and thanked Kosovo as the host country for the provided support.