Amended Proposal for a Regulation on the implementation of the Single European Sky

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2020) 579
Publication Date 22/09/2020
Content Type


Legislative initiative initially tabled by the European Commission on 11 June 2013, concerning a revision of the Single European Sky (SES) legal framework aimed at increasing the efficiency of its implementation. An amended proposal was tabled by the Commission on 22 September 2020. This is a recast proposal.

Further information:

The SES initiative aims to improve the overall efficiency of the way in which European airspace is organised and managed, through a reform of air traffic control in the European Union (EU), in order to meet future capacity and safety needs. The performance of air traffic management (ATM) and air navigation services (ANS) ought to be improved. The first package was delivered in 2004 (SES I), followed by a second package in 2009 (SES II). Despite this body of legislation, however, costs remained high and delays persisted. While the principles and direction of both packages were deemed valid and warrant a continuation of their implementation, there was significant delay in the implementation, notably in the achievement of the performance goals and the deployment of its basic elements.

The recast was foreseen to simplify and clarify the border line between the SES legal framework and the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The Commission launched in June 2013 the proposed SES 2+ legislative package in order to accelerate the implementation of the reform of air navigation services without departing from its original objectives and principles. The package introduces improvements in oversight of rules, the performance scheme, the customer focus of the service providers and in overall performance. It also aims to simplify legislation by eliminating certain overlaps in the existing framework.

The European Parliament adopted its negotiating position on this proposal in March 2014. The Council of the European Union adopted a general approach in December 2014 which was not fully set due to unsolved issues concerning the airport in Gibraltar. This matter essential blocked any further progression on this proposal thereafter. In its 2015 Aviation Strategy for Europe, the Commission urged the co-legislators to swiftly adopt the initiative. The European Parliament adopted a resolution in February 2017 urging the Member States to progress on this dossier. In September 2019, the Parliament's relevant committee agreed to enter trilogue negotiations once possible. In 2019, a Wise Person's Group was set up to assess the situation and future needs for air traffic management in the EU, which resulted in several recommendations. In December 2019, a majority of Member States agreed on the need to work on a position.

The Commission's European Green Deal published in December 2019 envisaged the restart of work on this proposal, considering its potential impact on aviation emissions. On 22 September 2020, the Commission tabled an amended proposal on the implementation of the Single European Sky, to account for the European Green Deal and also the recommendations of the Wise Person's Group. A separate proposal to amend the EASA Basic Regulation was also put forward.

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Commentary and Analysis
EPRS: Briefing, January 2014: Initial Appraisal of the Commission's Impact Assessment
EPRS: At a Glance, March 2014: Single European sky: state of play

EurActiv, 11/06/2013: Air controllers go on strike over single EU sky
Euronews, 11/06/2013: France air traffic controller strike over EU 'single sky'
BBC News, 12/06/2013: France air traffic control strike hits Europe flights
Deutsche Welle, 29/01/2014: European air traffic controllers go on strike over EU initiative
Euronews, 29/01/2014: Cancellations as air traffic controllers protest against EU reform
EurActiv, 31/01/2014: MEPs put brakes on air services liberalisation
EurActiv, 04/12/2014: Gibraltar dispute delays EU airspace reform

European Commission: DG Mobility and Transport: Single European Sky (SES)
EUR-Lex: COM(2013)410: Proposal for a Regulation on the implementation of the Single European Sky
EUR-Lex: SWD(2013)206: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Impact assessment
EUR-Lex: SWD(2013)207: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Executive summary of the impact assessment
EUR-Lex: SWD(2020)187: Staff Working Document accompanying the Amended Proposal - A fresh look at the Single European Sky
European Parliament: Legislative Observatory: Procedure File for Proposal on Implementation of the Single European Sky (Recast)
European Parliament: Legislative Train Schedule: Implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) - Recast
European Commission: Press Release, 11/06/2013: Single Sky: Commission acts to unblock congestion in Europe's airspace
European Commission: Memo, 11/06/2013: Frequently Asked Questions: Single Sky: Commission acts to unblock congestion in Europe's airspace
European Commission: Speech, 11/06/2013: Press Conference by Commission VP Siim Kallas - Single European Sky 2+
European Commission: Speech, 16/09/2013: Address by Commission VP Kallas at informal Transport Council - The Single European Sky: time to make the vision a reality
European Parliament: Press Release, 12/03/2014: MEPs back proposals to speed up reform of air traffic control services
European Commission: Press Release, 12/03/2014: Aviation: European Parliament gives boost to the Single European Sky
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 03/12/2014: Single European Sky: Council agrees its position
EPRS: Briefing, April 2015: Single European Sky
European Commission: Press Release, 22/09/2020: Single European Sky: for a more sustainable and resilient air traffic management
European Commission: Q&A, 22/09/2020: Questions and Answers – Single European Sky: for an efficient and sustainable air traffic management

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