Eurocontrol is the European organisation for the safety of air navigation and was established by Convention in 1960. Eurocontrol is an independent body with legal capacity. It has the status, privileges and immunities of an international organisation.
The Convention was given effect by the Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) Act, 1963 and Ireland joined o the organisation in 1965. The organisation includes nearly all the EU states and several other states.
Since the original Convention, six further Conventions have been adopted. The Convention and subsequent Protocols were given effect under later Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) Acts. The updated Convention and subsequent Protocols were given e effect in the Irish Aviation Act 1993.
The final act of the Convention and Protocols amending and consolidating the Eurocontrol International Convention was signed in 1997. The revised Convention takes account of progress in the area of air navigation services.
The amendments are designed to strengthen cooperation between the parties and promote joint activities and the areas of air navigation. This does not affect the complete sovereignty each state has over a test base or the capacity of every state to exercise prerogatives in relation to the security and defence in its national air space.
The revised Convention updates the objectives of the organisation in accordance with current and future activities. It provides new institutional structures for formulating and implementing its policy.
They expand the tasks of the organisation to achieve a European air traffic management system. It provides for more effective decision-making based on majority voting. It allows for EU membership of Eurocontrol.
Many of the provisions already had the force of Ireland in the existing legislation and administrative provisions.
Adoption by EU
EU states have agreed in principle that EU membership of Eurocontrol is the most appropriate way for the Community to exercise its competencies in air traffic management systems. Negotiations between the EU Commission and Eurcontrol provided for an agreed accession in 2002.
The legislation provides for the ratification of the Protocol. The Air Navigation Eurocontrol Act 1983 was replaced by part 3 of the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993. The 1983 Act gave effect to the Eurocontrol Convention, and the legislation was replaced by the 1993 Act.
The statutory power of the Minister to make orders as it appears necessary to give effect to the Eurocontrol Convention and the statute of the agency was confirmed. The Aviation Act 2006 gave effect to the amended Brussels Convention known as the Eurocontrol Convention.
Proceedings for recovery of sums due to Eurocontrol in respect of air navigation services or aeronautical communication services may be brought in locations as defined, including particularly where the residence, registered office, place of business where assets are present or where its headquarters are located.
A determination made in the contracting state other than the State is to be enforceable in the state under the Convention. An application for enforcement may be made to the High Court. The High Court must, unless the limited ground of exception apply, make an order for enforcement.
The grounds for refusing enforcement include that
- the underlying proceedings are bought without jurisdiction
- that the determination is manifestly contrary to the public policy of the State
- that it is not final
- that it is incompatible with an existing judgement
- that it dealt with certain matters which are exclusively for the state (property, legal status at succession)
There are equivalent provisions for enforcing determinations by a domestic court in other contracting states.
Regulations may require operators of aircraft to maintain records of the movement of aircrafts in such form as may be specified. They may provide for the production and inspection by authorised officers of records kept. They may provide that records of movement shall be evidence of the matters entered unless the contrary is shown.