» Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Open Skies

Asked if there was any response to the Independent’s report today about the Prime Minister and President Bush’s conversation last night about open skies, and that the President had rejected it, the PMOS said that he did not recognise the account in the Independent about the conversation; in other words, it was wrong. In terms of where we were, we were still in discussion with the Commission, the EU Presidency and the US ahead of tomorrow’s Transport Council. The question we wanted to address was whether there would be a clear mechanism in place, with real incentives on both sides to reach an open market, which we judged to be in the interests of all travellers, especially British consumers in airlines. This was a matter, therefore, continuing discussion.

Asked if they had discussed open skies during their conversation, the PMOS replied that open skies had been a matter of discussion at all levels with the US Administration, and they were fully aware of our concerns. It had also been a matter for discussion with our European partners as well. What we wanted to see was as open a market as possible, with real competition on both sides of the Atlantic.

Asked if the Prime Minister had been talking with EU leaders as well, the PMOS replied that this was a matter that had been discussed at the last EU Summit informally, and the Prime Minister had also talked about it with other leaders as well. Therefore, people were well aware of our desire to open it up as much as possible, and to have a basis on which opening it up in one was matched by opening it up in another.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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