The creation of a unified European airspace is seriously off track, potentially requiring the European Union (EU) to use sanctions to force compliance from member states, European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas said in Cyprus on Oct. 11.
Although the European Union dissolved customs borders and passport controls for much of the continent years ago, control of the skies overhead remains fragmented between nations.
"We have fallen seriously behind in our original ambitions. After more than 10 years, the core problems remain the same," Kallas told a conference in Limassol. "At this stage, it looks like infringements may well be necessary."
The Single European Sky II package is an EU plan to scale down from 27 national airspaces to nine regional blocks by December, with the ultimate aim of one single air control system.
However, countries have been slow to dismantle domestic air traffic monopolies in order to form the regional blocks, and the EU may launch investigations into sanctioning countries that refuse to make good on the agreement.
The Commission can force member states to follow EU law through a procedure known as infringement, which begins with a formal demand and can escalate into EU court action and fines.