March 23, 2017 - 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which started the European Union (EU) project with the establishment of the European Economic Community – also known as the Common Market. Its objective was to integrate trade and strengthen the economies of the area, based on the underlying political vision for “an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”.
For businesses across the EU, the Single Market and its rules act as an essential backbone providing opportuni- ties that are now taken for granted – but which previously would have been regarded as unimaginable.
The business of aviation is no exception. Once a sector artificially constrained by an intrusive set of national regulations and political interference, European aviation has thrived with the creation of the Single Aviation Market – with comprehensive common rules on safety, security, environment, market access and consumer benefits as well as with the establishment of a social dialogue.
The Single Aviation Market has yielded extensive and affordable air connectivity for citizens and countless businesses. It has also acted as an engine of growth and job creation for the wider economy. The EU is today home to world-class aerospace companies providing quality employment to a highly skilled workforce while the creation of related European technology initiatives such as SESAR and Clean Sky have also benefited the wider EU aviation community which is working together under the umbrella of the Advisory Council of Aviation Research in Europe (ACARE). Today, aviation in the EU accounts for 4.1% of the bloc’s GDP and supports 8.97 million jobs.
In view of this track record, the European aviation community is today marking the moment of the 60th anniversary of the European project to reaffirm its commitment to the EU.
With the EU project facing unprecedented criticism and existential threats, now is the time to speak in defense of its achievements for aviation (employers and employees) and consumers. The 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome serves as a reminder of how far we have come. An opportuni- ty to take stock of what has been achieved and appreciate things that are now taken for granted or even dismissed. Airspace users (including airlines and rotorcraft operators), airports, air navigation service providers and aircraft & equipment manufacturers are thus calling on Member States to preserve, reform and strengthen the EU.
As businesses and together with our employees, we cannot afford to lose the freedom, legal certainty, connectivity and prosperity enabled by the Single Aviation Market. We are mindful that these essential benefits are intrinsically linked to the wider political endeavours and dynamics of the EU, and the fact that the Union’s greatest – yet too often overlooked – achievement remains that our continent has been enjoying the longest period of peace in modern times.
Looking ahead, we are convinced that the EU is the only way to address the range of geopolitical, environmental, economic and social challenges that EU Member States are now facing.
Today, more than ever, it is our shared responsibility to help preserve the Single Market – and thus stand up for the EU.