The third pillar of the EU external aviation policy is the launching of targeted negotiations seeking to achieve global agreements in the major regions of the world, with the aim of market access and strengthening the prospects for ensuring fair competition in the most dynamic world markets, while at the same time helping to reform international civil aviation and promoting European regulations and industry.
The Commission, working with EU Member States, has identified a number of major partners with which the EU has a significant aviation interest. In all cases, negotiation at EU level seeks to deliver significant added value over bilateral agreements by securing a comprehensive regulatory framework for the operation of enhanced commercial opportunities that benefit the industry and its users (passengers and cargo-shippers) alike.
Groundbreaking agreements have already been concluded with the United States in 2007 and in June 2010 (the so-called "first" and "second stage" agreements).
An ambitious agreement was signed with Canada in 2009. It establishes a genuine open aviation area between the EU and Canada, and creates far-reaching possibilities for the reciprocal opening up in terms of investments. It also establishes a platform for close regulatory coordination on all the aspects of air transport policy.
Norway and Iceland acceded to the agreement in 2011.
In March 2011, a comprehensive aviation agreement was finalised with Brazil, but is currently subject to renegotiation. Negotiations are ongoing with a number of other major worldwide partners.
The agreements that the European Commission negotiates on behalf of the EU and its Member States do not limit themselves to the so-called "open skies" models entailing mere opening up of markets: the EU model also seeks the establishment of a process of liberalisation of ownership of airlines and a process of regulatory convergence in matters of safety and security, competition, environment, passengers protection, labour, etc. - which could not be obtained at national levels.