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The AGREEMENT between the EU and Qatar goes far beyond traffic rights and will provide a unique set of rules, high standards and a platform for future cooperation on a wide range of aviation-related issues, such as safety, safety or air traffic management. The agreement also obliges both sides to improve social and labour policy, an achievement that the existing agreements between Qatar and the various EU Member States have not yet achieved. The agreement will improve the rules and standards for flights between Qatar and the EU and establish a new global benchmark by committing to strong and fair competition mechanisms and providing for provisions that are not normally covered by bilateral air services agreements, such as social or environmental issues. “We look forward to our new service contract with Michigan State University,” said Bradley T. Funkhouser, CEO of CATA. “With our 20 years of partnership with MSU, where CATA is the leading provider of public transportation, we are very honored by the university`s confidence in us. We look forward to continuing to provide exemplary campus service to students, teachers and staff. This agreement is part of the EU`s concerted efforts to ensure open and fair competition and high standards for global air transport, in line with the ambitious agenda of the European Foreign Policy Strategy. Parallel negotiations with aSEAN are at an advanced stage and negotiations are also under way with Turkey. The Commission also has a mandate to negotiate air agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Oman. EU negotiations with Ukraine, Armenia and Tunisia are over and agreements are still pending. According to an independent economic study carried out on behalf of the Commission, the agreement, with its strong fair competition provisions, could generate almost 3 billion euros in economic benefits for the period 2019-2025 and create about 2000 new jobs by 2025.

The agreement will benefit all stakeholders by improving connectivity through a fair and transparent competitive environment and creating a solid foundation for a long-term aviation relationship. The European Commission negotiated the agreement on behalf of European Member States as part of its Aviation for Europe strategy, a landmark initiative to give European aviation a new impetus and create business opportunities. The negotiations were successfully concluded on February 5, 2019. The new agreement amends the current contract between MSU and CATA, which takes into account expenditure, support from the federal government and the federal states as well as the use of drivers. Qatar is an air transport partner close to the European Union with more than 7 million passengers travelling each year between the EU and Qatar under the 27 existing bilateral agreements with EU member states. Although direct flights between most EU Member States and Qatar have already been liberalised by these bilateral agreements, none of them contains fair competition provisions and other elements, such as social issues, which the Commission considers essential elements of a modern aviation agreement. EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: “We have delivered! Qatar was the first partner with which we started negotiations after the adoption of the aviation strategy for Europe – it is now the first to cross the finish line! Moreover, the agreement sets ambitious standards for fair competition, transparency or social issues. It will create a level playing field and strengthen the bar for air agreements around the world. This is a major improvement over the current framework and our shared contribution to aviation sustainability! In 2016, the European Commission was therefore authorised by the Council to negotiate an EU-wide air transport agreement with Qatar.

Since September 2016, negotiators have met for five rounds of formal negotiations in the presence of observers from EU member states and stakeholders.