E4FC Statement on European Commission Talks with Qatar Government on Fair Competition in Aviation

Europeans for Fair Competition (E4FC) today praised Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc and the European Commission (EC) for taking the first steps toward fulfilling their commitments under the European Union (EU) aviation strategy by opening negotiations today in Doha with the government of Qatar covering all EU member states.

E4FC echoes Commissioner Bulc’s support for a “predictable, equal legal framework” and reiterates its support for the inclusion of a comprehensive fair competition clause, as well as oversight and enforcement procedures, in any future air services agreement between the EU and Gulf states. E4FC will monitor the negotiations closely and hold the EC accountable for its commitment to deliver a fair playing field.

The negotiations with Qatar are not “ordinary talks.” E4FC supporters trust that the EC has realized that the major traffic gains by Gulf carriers in the EU-Gulf market have come at the expense of EU airlines, their employees and consumers. These negotiations must produce a robust agreement with efficient provisions for enforcing financial transparency and fair competition. Crucially, the EC is responsible for the survival of Europe’s aviation industry.

Europeans for Fair Competition is a coalition of concerned European airline employees, passengers, companies, and many others who have identified illegal aviation subsidies from two Middle Eastern nations as a threat to EU jobs and the larger EU economy. E4FC is advocating policies that promote, restore and safeguard a level playing field for European aviation by ensuring a fair, balanced, competitive and enforceable air services agreement between the government of Qatar and the EU. E4FC is calling for an elimination of state-sponsored subsidies and distortions to the marketplace that threaten the jobs of thousands of European aviation workers and undermine the competitive EU marketplace to the detriment of consumers.