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Home arrow In Brief arrow Tajani plays cards-up on 3 Airlines' privatisation and slots' guarantees for 2010+

Tajani plays cards-up on 3 Airlines' privatisation and slots' guarantees for 2010+

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Tajani clears Alitalia and Olympic privatisation, eyes Austrian airlines, and guarantees slots for 2010+

    EU cleared out the privatisation of AlItalia and Olympic airlines, in Italy and Greece respectively, and started contacts about Austrian Airlines, but "does not know yet who might come next", said to "EuroFora" EU Commission's vice President for Transports, Antonio Tajani.

    Speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg, Tajani stressed that, while monitoring the respect of EU Law on State aides and Competition, EU also wanted to help Airline Companies' sustainability and "defend Workers" at this period of Economic Crisis.

    That's why, at the same time, EU Commission decided to ask to firmly keep the Airport and flight Slots guaranteed to each Airline company for 2010, at their 2009 level, regardless if they use them all, or not.

    The measure is intended to help Airline Companies to adapt to the Crisis, fex. by temporarily limiting their activities, without losing their slots for next year. Normally we expect that the crisis would end in 2010. But if it continues towards 2011 we shall adapt and probably prolonge further the measure, he ensured.


    Meanwhile, AlItalia's sale for 1,052 million € to CAI was assessed by EU Experts as corresponding to "a fair market value", even if "in the lower margin". But AirFrance/KLM bought a 25% share from CAI, for 323 million €, some 10% Higher than expected, probably because of market changes which occured in the meantime, (fex. synergies and less social tensions, Lufthansa competition, etc). In conclusion, the Italian Government took Legal measures to recover a previous 300 million € loan of State aid, earlier declared illegal by the EU, and this allowed  EU Commission to give now its green light.   

 After an initial bid for Olympic on September 2008, when the Global Economic Crisis started, did not yield offers at its real value, the Greek Government decided to make a direct sale, in order to get a higher price in a faster way, avoiding the interruption of isolated islands' airlinks. Olympic was bought in 3 parts of 44,8 (Suissport etc. for ground segments), 45,7 (Marfin etc. for maintenance management, etc) and 16,7 millions, totalling some 107,2 millions €. The new company will be 100% private, and slimer that the old one.    

The EU Commission's vice-President praised the "good cooperation" he had with both the Greek and Italian Governments.     

Questioned by "EuroFora" which other EU Countries are coming next, Tajani said that he "didn't know yet who" might be on the privasation's pipeline.. But he announced that he had recently started contacts also with the Austrian government, initially for a loan, and may be later for the sale of Austrian Airlines.



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Sarkozy and Merkel want deals with Obama on European Security at Strasbourg's NATO 2009 Summit

In parallel but concording moves, EU Chair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel both invited this week US-President elect, Barack Obama, to discuss important deals breaking new ground on European Security during the NATO's 60 Years Anniversary Summit of Heads of State in Strasbourg, where Obama is expected to make his 1st visit to Europe as a President on April 2009.

Merkel focused mainly on smoother NATO - EU Defence and Security policy cooperation, while Sarkozy spoke about PanEuropean Security, associating both Russia and the USA, proposing to freeze missile and shields' deployement until an agreement is reached.

But both tackled some hard nuts to crack : Turkey's VETO against the participation of EU Member Cyprus to EU-NATO cooperation, and Russia's anouncement on deployment of missiles up to Kaliningrad, at EU's belly, in reply to USA's wish to set up missile shields in EU States such as Poland or Czech Republic, etc.

- "Certainly...one of the points that we'll dicuss with the New US President", Barak OBAMA, "who will come f'or the 1st time in Europe as president, at the NATO Summit", co-hosted by France and Germany in Strasbourg, ""concerns, above all, the European Security and Defence Policy" (ESDP), and "the relations between NATO and its partners", with whom it should "work together", anounced earlier this week Merkel.

We must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", because of a "series of practical issues, sometimes difficult to understand", but that "we must discuss".


- "An example" of that is "the issue of Cyprus and Turkey", said Merkel, where Ankara raises problems "from Kosovo up to Afghanistan", as also CoE's chair, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt recently observed in Strasbourg replying to EuroFora's questions.

- "We must do something to smoothen this problem for good, and not only on a case-by-case basis, laboriously negotiated each time". Here, we must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", Merkel stressed.

- "With good will from all sides, it could and should be posible. Germany wants also to help on that". Otherwise, "the coming generations will not understand why it took Decades to do so". But, if we "don't even achieve that for Decades, this would be an Historic Failure !", the German Chancellor warned

- "I think that our American partners are increasingly realizing that", Merkel said, pleading for "a stronger European Security and Defence policy, with which, I believe, the Atlantic Security Partnership can also strengthen and solidify".

Meanwhile, USA is also due to take in 2009 a special status inside EU-led EUROCORPS, the European Army HeadQuarters, based in Strasbourg.

Merkel said that after meeting in Berlin with NATO's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, earlier this week, precisely in order to "prepare NATO's Summit", scheduled for the beginning of April 2009 in Strasbourg.

Scheffe, knows well Strasbourg, since he chaired the CoE, as Holland's Foreign Minister, when he brokered a controversial deal precisely on Turkey and Cyprus about the implementation of ECHR judgements on Greek Cypriot displaced persons' houses and properties in 2003. He returned later at least once, for a WEO meeting at the CoE, where he precisely had highlighted such EU - NATO issues.

EU Commission's 2008 Report on Turkey has just observed that, on European Defense - Security policy, "Turkey continues to object to EU-NATO Cooperation which would involve all EU Member States". "This created Problems for EU-NATO co-operation in the context of Civilian ESDP missions, in particular in Kosovo and Afghanistan".


 French EU Chair, President Sarkozy and Merkel are visiting Washington on Friday and Saturday for a Global G-20 Summit with current US President George Bush, on the sidelines of which are expected preparatory contacts with US President-elect Obama's entourage, even if himself might stay in Chicago until he takes over on January 21.

Before going to Washington, Sarkozy concluded today an UE - Russia Summit with Dmitry Medvedev, where they "spoke in length on PanEuropean Security" :

- As EU President, I proposed that we meet on mid-2009 in a framework such as OSCE's in order to set the foundations of a Future Pan-European Security, which would associate Russia and USA, and that, meanwhile, nobody speaks about deploying missiles or shields, which complicate the situation".

- NATO's Summit in Strasbourg-Kehl, on April 2009 is a perfect occasion to discuss with our American friends and to prepare a possible OSCE Summit for these issues f.ex. for June or July", Sarkozy concluded.

- We must all abstain from Unilateral measures" dangerous for Europe's security. "Russia only reacted to decisions taken by some other countries. But if they are ready to cooperate, we are ready to discuss. EU could be an intermediary", added Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, before going himself too at the Washington G-20 Economic Summit.


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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