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European Council, Stockholm

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:05 pm on 26th March 2001.

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Photo of Baroness Jay of Paddington Baroness Jay of Paddington President of the Council, Privy Council Office 4:05 pm, 26th March 2001

My Lords, I must apologise to my noble friend Lord Shore if I said "open sky" when I meant "single sky". However, perhaps the optimist--my noble friend may not be one--would suggest that the two could overlap in terms of their ambitions, if not necessarily in terms of their titles.

As I said in repeating the Statement, so far as concerns the single sky proposal, the aim is to try to reduce the tremendous backlog--I am sure that the noble Lord will be aware of this if he travels by air within Europe--and the delays and cancellations which are caused by the system of having to agree slots across the European Union between national air traffic control systems. The proposal seeks to unblock that, but not, as the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, quite rightly pointed out, at any risk to the safety to that arrangement. It is simply very much an issue of trying to unblock the present "sky traffic jams"--if I may call them that--which occur all across Europe, particularly in the summer. The ambition is to try to improve that arrangement.