by NEFAB Council
The fourth meeting of the NEFAB Council since the entry into force of the NEFAB State Level Agreement took place in Oslo on 27 November 2013. The Council addressed important issues regarding the further development of the NEFAB cooperation in the years to come, in particular issues related to the European performance scheme for air navigation services.
The NEFAB Council is the supreme governance body in NEFAB, in which the transport ministries and defence ministries of the Contracting States participate. The Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications chairs the Council in the first year of the NEFAB cooperation.
The Council meeting was attended by representatives of ministries of transport from the four participating States: Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Norway, as well as of ministries of defence from Finland and Norway. Chairs of NEFAB Committees and Chairs of the governing bodies of the air navigation service providers also took part in the meeting.
The most important issue at the meeting was the performance requirements to be adopted through the European performance scheme for the years 2015 – 2019. A common position was tentatively agreed. The Council also discussed the approach for developing the cooperation in the years to come in view of the envisaged performance requirements. Progress reports regarding national legislative measures deemed necessary to enable the use of English as the only language in parts of NEFAB airspace were presented and discussed. The Council concluded that it is legally feasible to implement such an initiative in the Contracting states and stated that it is an aim to adopt any necessary national regulations by the end of 2015. The Council took note of progress reports on preparations for the implementation of new, enhanced air traffic management tools developed by EUROCONTROL for “flexible use of airspace”.
A supplementary response to the European Commission on the NEFAB cooperation was approved. This document is drawn up due to the Commission’s formal assessment of NEFAB, as stipulated in the legislative package on the Single European Sky.
The continued cooperation with Denmark and Sweden was another key issue at the meeting. A proposal for Terms of Reference for the cooperation between NEFAB and the Danish-Swedish FAB was tentatively approved in preparation for the meeting with Denmark and Sweden the day after the NEFAB Council. The first progress report was tabled regarding preparations for the establishment of a ‘Free Route Airspace’ within the airspace managed by the six States by the end of 2015. It was noted that the preparations are progressing as planned.
Enhanced cooperation with Russia will also be pursued as an element in the NEFAB cooperation. All the NEFAB States have a common border with Russia, and harmonised rules and procedures are issues that can usefully be developed and should be mutually beneficial.
The Chairman of the NEFAB Council, Mr. Ottar Ostnes, Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, made the following assessment of the meeting:
“I am pleased that we have conducted 4 successful meetings of the NEFAB Council in the first year of our formal cooperation based on the NEFAB Agreement. At these meetings we have had very useful discussions on important topics for the continuation of our cooperation. I would also like to underline the extensive activities carried out during the first year by the NEFAB Committees – in particular the NSA Committee. This means that we have a solid basis for our continued work next year under the Chair of Estonia in the NEFAB Council, as well as under the Chair of Finland in the NSA Committee (for the second consecutive year), under the Chair of Finland in the Civil-Military Committee and under the Chair of Norway in the Finance & Performance Committee.”
The next meeting of the NEFAB Council is tentatively scheduled for April 2014. This will be the first Council meeting under the Chairmanship of Estonia