Blacklist is not protectionist tool, Tajani tells African leaders

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European transport commissioner Antonio Tajani has told African leaders that the European Union's airline blacklist is not a political or commercial tool.

Tajani was speaking today before the African Union's head of state and government assembly in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Several African states - among them Angola, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo - are the subject of blanket bans on flight operations to Europe.

But Tajani says: "Our list is not an instrument of protectionism. I guarantee that the application of this measure is subject exclusively to strict safety criteria and not concealed political or commercial motivations."

Angola's Government notably retaliated against European flights after its flag-carrier, TAAG, was blacklisted 18 months ago.

Tajani says there needs to be "dialogue and co-operation" to all "unlimited sharing of expertise and resources".

"My aim is to have an 'empty list'," he says. "Because it would mean that we have managed to ensure full security for all air operators."