The European Parliament’s Sky and Space Intergroup (SSI) is holding high-level discussions on the future of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The meetings include Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), European Union (EU) institutions and senior industry representatives.

The EASA Basic Regulation is being revised, and MEP and SSI president Monika Hohlmeier said the agency had a crucial role in supporting civil aviation’s contribution to the EU economy.

“There are over 18 million direct and indirect jobs depending on commercial aviation in the EU, with the civil aviation manufacturing sector investing over €7 billion ($8 billion) per year in research. In this context, the role of EASA is all the more crucial,” Hohlmeier said.

EASA executive director Patrick Ky highlighted the safety challenges facing aviation and said: “EASA does not necessarily need new resources. We need the flexibility to adapt them to the market needs, even more since more than 70% of EASA’s budget comes from the fees and charges paid by the industry.”

Finmeccanica CEO Mauro Moretti, who is also president of the Aerospace and Defense Industries Association of Europe (ASD), said that close cooperation between the European Parliament, EU Institutions and industry was essential. “The European aerospace industry’s strong record of technological innovation and exports should not be taken for granted since our industry competes on a global level with established players as well as new players who compete under different conditions,” he said.

Airbus EVP-engineering Charles Champion pointed out that “Europe is today one of the safest places in the world to fly,” but he stressed that “EASA is also key to our competitiveness and it is essential that the Agency has the resources necessary to deliver on Europe’s industrial ambitions.”

Rolls-Royce director-engineering and technology, civil large engines Chris Barkey argued that the first 10 years of EASA had been a success and urged consolidation of that success in the update to the regulation. He said this should be done “through securing adequate EASA resources, increasing its international reach, evolving its regulatory approach, and acting on understood risk—so Europe continues to be at the forefront of a safe global aviation sector.”

The European Commission is due to publish its proposals on the update to the EASA Basic Regulation later this year.

The SSI is an informal cross-party, cross-nationality network of MEPs. The Brussels-based ASD represents 15 major European aerospace and defense companies and 26 member associations in 19 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.