Progress towards a single European sky is insufficient and new action is needed. Progress will be made and new action will be taken in the second quarter of 2008. That is what the European Commission has concluded in its first report on the progress towards implementing a single European sky, adopted on 20 December last year (COM(2007)845). Convergence criteria for the single sky in particular could be established at European level.

The central point of the single European sky, the creation of the famous 'functional airspace blocks' - organised according to traffic flows and no longer following national borders - has gone practically nowhere up until now.

The main obstacle is political, according to the Commission, for whom sovereignty remains an "issue". "It has been used as a showstopper," it says, "by those who wish to resist enhanced cross-border cooperation and integration." Result: four years after the adoption of the legislation on the single sky, which foresees setting up such cross-border blocs, most are still at the feasibility study stage. To overcome the political obstacles, the Commission is going to examine the possibility of an Aviation System Coordinator', whose mission would be to "promote a stronger political commitment among member states". The idea had already been raised in July 2007 by a high-level group created at the initiative of the EU's Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot. For the Commission, member states should at least commit, at the political...

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