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EU signs aviation agreement with Bulgaria

Date: 23.12.2005

The European Commission said it has reached an agreement to create a European Common Aviation Area with Bulgaria, seven more countries from South Eastern Europe, Norway and Iceland.

The seven states are Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo.

"The creation of the European Common Aviation Area will open up market opportunities for the aviation industry and give people better travel options," said Vice-President Jacques Barrot responsible for transport.

The European Commission announced the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) will create a seamless and efficient European air transport network, linking European people, countries and cultures, and play a vital role in the further integration and development of Europe as a whole.

The negotiations on the ECAA Agreement with the South East European partners were launched in March 2005 and took less than a year to be concluded.

It is expected that the entire agreement will be signed under the Austrian presidency in the first half of 2006 and will enter into force soon after.

Air traffic between the EU and South-East Europe has seen a 121% growth since 2001. According to the European Commission this trend will be accelerated as tourism is a huge growth area in the coastal regions in South East Europe and there are 414 airports.

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