Recommendation for a COUNCIL DECISION authorising the opening of negotiations on amending the Protocol to the Agreement on the international occasional carriage of passengers by coach and bus (Interbus Agreement) regarding the international regular and special regular carriage of passengers by coach and bus and the Protocol amending the Agreement on the international occasional carriage of passengers by coach and bus (Interbus Agreement) by extending the possibility of accession to the Kingdom of Morocco
1. The Interbus Agreement is an international agreement which covers occasional (i.e. holiday tour) bus and coach transport. Its membership currently includes the EU plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Turkey and Ukraine.
2. The UK is currently covered by the Agreement by virtue of its membership of the EU. The EU provides the secretariat to the Agreement.
3. In December 2014, Council of Ministers authorised the Commission to open negotiations to expand the Agreement in two ways. Firstly, a protocol to extend the scope to include regular and special regular services; this would cover scheduled journeys with pre-determined stops. Secondly, a protocol to extend Interbus membership to the Kingdom of Morocco (together, the Protocols).
4. In order for both to come into effect, parties needed to sign the Protocols by 16 April 2019. Only the EU signed the protocol on regular and special regular services, which requires a minimum of 4 signatures to come into force. Only 4 parties have signed the protocol on the Kingdom of Morocco. Although the protocol could enter into force, this would result in two Interbus Agreements running in parallel: a smaller Interbus Agreement only for those who agreed to Morocco joining and a larger, main Agreement.