International cooperation in civil aviation is essential to ensuring network safety and the development of globally agreed standards. The EU is actively engaged in strengthening aviation safety at both the European and international levels, notably through its work with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and technical assistance and cooperation initiatives.
The EU considers it to be the joint responsibility of the global aviation community to support States in establishing sustainable safety oversight systems in compliance with international standards. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the centrepiece of the EU’s strategy for aviation safety, is engaged in a number of international technical assistance and cooperation initiatives aimed at promoting aviation safety globally and regionally.
The complexity of technical support programs in civil aviation requires well-functioning cooperation and coordination with European institutions and international organizations. ICAO belongs to the agency’s important partners and respective coordination meetings between the EASA and the ICAO EUR/NAT office are held regularly to optimize the use of resources.
With reference to countries of the ICAO EUR/NAT regions, EASA is engaged in EU funded technical assistance and support programmes for the Western Balkans and Turkey, as well as for the countries of the Eastern Partnership region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) and the Central Asian region (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan).
The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) refers to the Western Balkans and Turkey and is the means by which the EU supports civil aviation reforms in the EU candidate or potential candidate countries with financial and technical help. For the countries of the Eastern Partnership and the Central Asian region (EaP/ CA) technical assistance in the area of civil aviation follows the European Neighborhood Instrument (EPI). EASA is the main implementing body of the action but the security component of the EaP/CA project is implemented by the European Civil Aviation Conference.
All EU-funded EASA technical assistance projects in these regions aim to support the sustainable development of civil aviation and civil aviation administrative systems of the beneficiaries, harmonise regulations and work practices to comply with the international aviation standards and – for the Western Balkans as well as the Eastern Partnership countries – support the implementation of the Common Aviation Area Agreements being negotiated or concluded and aiming at integrating these countries in the EU aviation safety system through trainings, peer-to-peer support, workshops, on-site support and on-the-job training.
In addition, EASA established specific coordination platforms: the Pan-European Partnership Platform (PANEP) that serves as a forum to ensure the uninterrupted involvement of the European non- EASA Member States in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures. This EASA platform was created in 2010 to ensure a proper pan- European dimension and to avoid any gaps in the co-operation with the European non-EU members on safety-related matters.. Another EASA initiative aiming at a broader international exchange on aviation safety developments is the International Cooperation Forum, founded in 2008 and open for participation to all ICAO Member States
Furthermore, ICAO EUR/NAT takes part in the agency’s project events, such as to the EaP/CA Project Steering Committee’s held in Chisinau in 2016, in Kiev in 2017 and in Astana in 2018 as well as to the EASA Project Technical Board meetings.
EASA has been a member of the ICAO Aviation Safety Implementation Assistance Partnership (ASIAP) since its creation in 2015, which serves as a framework for coordinated efforts that contribute to the provision of assistance to States.
The combined cooperation of ICAO EUR/NAT and EASA, in the frame of the ICAO EUR/NAT Technical Assistance Programme is essential in the support of the capacity building technical assistance activities and in strengthening aviation safety at European and international level.