"The European Union and Israel signed Tuesday in Brussels an aviation agreement which will remove nationality restrictions in the bilateral air services agreements between the 27 EU member states and Israel.
The agreement, which will encourage traffic between the EU and Israel, was signed by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani and Israeli Minister for Transport, Shaul Mofaz, after a meeting in the margins of the EU Transport Council.
"The agreement signed today is good news for Israeli and European airlines and passengers, as it removes the legal uncertainty from the bilateral air services agreements", declared Tajani.
The agreement will allow any EU airline to operate flights between any EU Member state and Israel where a bilateral agreement with Israel exists and traffic rights are available.
This so-called "horizontal" aviation agreement does not replace the bilateral agreements in place between the Israel and 27 EU Member States, but brings these in line with European law.
Horizontal agreements have been negotiated with 38 countries worldwide. Nearly 800 bilateral air services agreements have already been modified by the joint efforts of the European Commission and member states to replace nationality rules with the principle of EU airline designation.
Air transport is crucial for the relations between the EU and Israel, linking people, cultures and businesses.
The EU and Israel also started negotiations on a comprehensive aviation agreement with a view to establishing a Common Aviation Area between the EU and Israel.
This aviation agreement will gradually open up the air transport market and provide for regulatory cooperation in the fields of aviation safety, security, air traffic management, technology, research and industrial co-operation, consumer and environmental protection and competition."