This UPI story provides an overview of a current debate in the European Union over aviation security, and whether the EU needs to enhance the regulatory framework for aviation security and require its member states to adopt certain minimum standards. The draft legislation (which can be found at this link) emerged after an EU report that studied 44 airports and found grave deficiencies in security across the continent.
The article notes pushback in the European Parliament and in certain member states to the idea of a new round of legislation, arguing that states face variable threats, and that a one-size-fits-all approach is potentially uneconomical and provides terrorists with a predictable roadmap for defeating the system. The UPI story also notes concern in certain European countries about the EU imposing air marshals on member states, but that idea is a canard; the Commission’s report mentions air marhals but clearly states that:
However, it should be stressed that such implementing legislation will be developed only as and when such rules are deemed necessary at the Community level. Also, it should be noted that the Commission has no intention of compelling any Member State to accept in-flight security officers on board aircraft and the proposal in no way seeks to change existing sovereignty on this matter.
The ideas in the Commission’s proposal are sound and balanced in my opinion, and could strengthen the EU’s aviation security regime. It makes sense especially to harmonize activities such as baggage screening where there is both a security gain and an efficiency gain from common standards. I also think that any activities in Europe to strengthen aviation security will lead naturally to a stronger US-EU homeland security partnership, which I see as an essential element of a long-term strategic framework for homeland security. (On a related note, I’ll be attending this event today here in DC on transatlantic homeland security cooperation, and will report back from it).