The Common Aviation Area (CAA) has been envisaged to allow gradual market opening between the EU and its neighbours linked with regulatory convergence through the gradual implementation of EU aviation rules to offer new opportunities for operators and wider choice for consumers. The processes of market opening and regulatory convergence take place in parallel in order to promote fair competition and the implementation of common high safety, security, environmental and other standards.
This aviation area implies the adoption by our neighbouring partners of the part of the Acquis containing the European aviation rules, starting with safety requirements. Market opening and progressive regulatory harmonisation are implemented by successive phases and are assorted with technical assistance to support these partner countries in their process of adoption of the necessary measures. The CAA is implemented through comprehensive air transport agreements that promote the overall economic, trade and tourism relations. Negotiations on such a comprehensive agreement may start once the neighbouring country has demonstrated its clear commitment to undertake the obligations related to joining the CAA.
The EU has concluded such agreements with the Western Balkans (the ECAA Agreement), Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Moldova and Morocco. The first such neighbourhood agreements were concluded with Western Balkan partners and Morocco in 2006 and they have been applied as from the date of signature. In 2010, similar agreements with Georgia and Jordan were signed. The most recent agreements are the ones one with Moldova, signed in June 2012 and Israel, signed in June 2013. Furthermore, an aviation agreement with Ukraine has been negotiated and it is expected to be signed in the near future. As per relations with other neighbouring countries, negotiations are on-going with Lebanon, Tunisia and Azerbaijan. Ultimately, the wider European Common Aviation Area could encompass up to 50-55 states with a total population of up to 1 billion inhabitants.