Brussels: The EU executive said on Sunday it was setting up a group to assess the economic impact of the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland and said any steps taken across the European Union needed to be properly coordinated.
“The volcanic ash cloud has created an unprecedented situation,” European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement.
“I have asked (EU transport commissioner Siim) Kallas to coordinate the Commission’s response and fully assess the impact of the situation created by the volcanic ash cloud on the economy, and the air travel industry in particular.”
“It is important that all measures to be considered are coordinated at the European level.”
Barroso said Kallas would be helped by competition and state aid commissioner Joaquin Almunia and economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn.
A spokeswoman for the Spanish EU presidency said Spain would preside over a meeting by tele and video conference of EU transport ministers on Monday to discuss the crisis caused by the ash cloud and possible measures in response to it.
“There is a video conference of European transport ministers tomorrow so that we can examine the results of the test flights and look and see whether there is any updating of the regulatory structure which might make it possible for flights to take place despite the presence of the ash cloud,” Britain’s transport minister Andrew Adonis told BBC television.
“Because at the present time the strong safety advice is that flights cannot take place while the ash cloud is present.”
The Spanish EU presidency said a meeting of EU agriculture ministers due to be held in Luxembourg on Monday had been postponed because of flight cancellations.
A conference between the EU and Croatia on the latter’s EU accession bid due to be held in Brussels would go ahead, but at ambassadorial level, the presidency said. Earlier the presidency said that meeting would be postponed.
A meeting of EU telecommunications ministers in Granada on Monday would go ahead, the presidency added in a statement.