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[28/02/2006] EU /US Open Skies treaty, global warming, reduces national powers


Ireland could lose its ability to impose environmental taxes, pollution
restrictions and safety safeguards on airlines under a draft Treaty between
the EU and the USA which curtails the power of national governments. The
draft treaty, meant to liberalise aviation,includes a little noticed clause
that requires EU Member States to reach agreement with each other and with
the USA before taking measures to tackle noise or pollution from airplanes.
"The Guardian" newsaper, London,leaked the text of this draft "open skies"
treaty on Monday 20 February.

This EU-US Treaty will alarm environmental activists who point out that the
growth in air travel is among the main causes of global warming. Aviation
emissions are now the fastest growing sector of total greenhouse gas
emissions. Article 14 of the draft Treaty forbids any environmental
measures that could have "possible adverse effects" on the free traffic of
aircraft.  US negotiators insisted on this clause's inclusion when
negoitiating the draft Treaty with the EU Commission, acting on behalf of
the EU. The Americans feel that controls on aircraft emissions will
increase costs, lose jobs and push several of its airlines,already under
bankruptcy protection, out of business.  The new Treaty will be adopted by
the EU Council of Ministers by qualified majority vote,which means that
Ireland will not have a veto and must comply with its terms even if it is
quite opposed to them. So much for Dublin's sovereign independence!
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