Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Iceland and Norway In

As discussed previously on the blog, see "Iceland and Norway to Join U.S./EC Air Transport Agreement," the European Commission issued a proposal to the Council of Ministers outlining procedures for Iceland and Norway to accede to the 2007 U.S./EC Air Transport Agreement.  As noted, the accession is an important first step toward actualizing the Agreement's potential to function as a plurilateral faciliator of global air transport liberalization.  Cf. 2007 art. 18(5), U.S./EC Air Transport Agreement, 2007 O.J. (L 134) 4 (extending the Agreement to third parties following the development of conditions, procedures, and necessary amendments); see also Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law of the United States sec. 312 (1987) (discussing the structure and functions of a plurilateral agreement).

Last week, the U.S. and EC, in the context of their ongoing negotiations for a "second stage" agreement to expand on the liberalizing provisions of the 2007 Agreement, approved Norway and Iceland's accession.  See Josh Mitchell, Norway, Iceland to Join "Open Skies" Pact with US, Dow Jones Newswire, Oct. 9, 2009 (available here).  Though incremental, the decision to expand the Agreement beyond the U.S. and EC appears to indicate that both sides are dedicated, in principle if not in practice, to ensuring that the 2007 Agreement will continue to order their aviation relations.  Both parties have also agreed to reconvene next month with a list of concrete proposals for the "second stage."



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