France and Germany are leading a call for the European Union to ensure fair competition between EU airlines and those from the Gulf region that are accused of receiving major state backing.

The French and German transport ministers said in a statement Friday that they want their EU partners and the executive Commission “to adopt a common strategy to bring an end to these practices.” Companies from the Gulf like Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have surged while many EU airlines have struggled.

Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden have backed the Franco-German call, the statement said.

The countries said landing rights in Europe should only be granted to airlines in exchange for fair trade controls on the way companies operate.

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Photo Credit: A Qatar Airways Airbus plane in Toulouse, France. Fred Lancelot / Associated Press