Comprehensive aviation agreement will also resolve connectivity issues: EU transport commissioner
The European Union’s Mobility and Transport Commissioner has invited India to explore a deeper engagement in civil aviation through a comprehensive aviation agreement, and also suggested the need for a global agreement on railways.
In an interview, Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport said that she met Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Tuesday and had suggested holding an annual aviation summit in India to explore ways to improve safety, security, and the size of airports.
“We shared connectivity issues during our meeting,” Ms. Bulc said. “That’s why I invited the minister to consider the next step in our bilateral agreement, which would be a comprehensive aviation agreement. That will, of course, have a direct positive impact on tourism as well.”
“I am very encouraged by what we agreed to,” she added. “Topics like safety, security, improving capacities of airports were all part of our discussion. I proposed to have a proper yearly summit on aviation in India, which I got a positive response from the minister. This will explore all possible concrete areas,” according to Ms. Bulc. She said she had also met Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, where she discussed issues relating to road safety, and standardisation in the railways.
“Road safety is at the top of our agenda,” Ms. Bulc said. “It has become a very important global issue. It has been elevated at the UN level as well. The Minister [Mr. Gadkari] expressed an interest in how we approached the systemic issues to decrease road safety, especially fatalities. So, I shared with him our policy attention, and also our Vision Zero, which I invited India to join.”
Road safety statistics
Vision Zero is a multi-national road safety project that aims to achieve zero fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic.
“One thing that was very effective in the EU was that we started to collect statistics on road safety and compare member states and wherever we saw that there was not such a good performance, we would then engage with the member state and help them make the next step,” Ms. Bulc said. “In engineering, many new features will be introduced in cars, we are working with industry.” While speaking to Mr. Goyal, Ms. Bulc said, she had highlighted the importance of global standards and had also said that there is emerging a need for an international agreement regarding railways.
“One interesting thing which is completely new, which we agreed on, is that there is an evolving need because railways are going across borders of countries and becoming the interlocutor of broader regional areas,” she said.
“So, we will initiate a joint global event where we can start discussing standardisation and regulator alignment on a global scale. We hope that this will emerge next year. There could be potential for a new UN chapter, like we have for aviation,” according to Ms. Bulc.