EU presidency says no emergency meeting planned on emergency meeting

08:55, April 19, 2010      

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There has been no emergency meeting planned on the flight disruption across Europe due to the cloud of volcanic ash, Spanish Presidency of the European Union ( EU) said on Sunday.

"We are not talking about having an emergency ministerial session on this problem. It is all in an early stage. Maybe the situation will improve at short notice," Spain's Finance Minister Elena Salgado, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, told reporters after a three-day informal meeting of EU finance ministers.

"No country has made such proposal," she added.

Thousands of flights have been canceled across Europe after the ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland hovered over the continent and threatened safety of planes.

The chaos also hit the EU finance ministers' meeting, which was plagued by absences. At least a quarter of the 27 EU finance ministers failed to arrive in Madrid.

Salgado said the problem popped up again when the ministers had to leave and some of them had to choose overnight coaches or trains.

The volcanic ash has caused huge losses of revenues to the airline industry.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Sunday he has decided to set up an ad-hoc group to assess the impact of the volcanic ash cloud on the air travel industry and the economy.

Vice President Siim Kallas, who is responsible for transport, has been asked to lead the group, with the assistance of Vice President Joaquin Alumina and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn.

"The volcanic ash cloud has created an unprecedented situation, " Barroso said in a statement.

"It is important that all measures to be considered are coordinated at the European level," he added.

Source: Xinhua


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