Select Committee on European Scrutiny Twenty-First Report


COM(01) 575

Draft Regulation on establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security.

Legal base:Article 80(2) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
Document originated:10 October 2001
Forwarded to the Council: 12 October 2001
Deposited in Parliament: 13 October 2001
Department:Transport, Local Government and the Regions
Basis of consideration: Minister's letter of 1 March 2002
Previous Committee Report: HC 152­ix (2001­02), paragraph 13 (5 December 2001)
To be discussed in Council: Not known
Committee's assessment:Legally and politically important
Committee's decision:Cleared (decision reported on 5 December 2001)


  9.1  The draft Regulation seeks to make a range of security measures contained in Document 30 of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) legally enforceable in EU Member States and to establish a system of inspections and peer review to ensure compliance with the standards. In clearing this document in December, we asked for further information on two points: first, the Government's view on the frequency of security inspections at airports; and secondly, an outline of the specific ways in which the Commission could improve airport security in third countries.

The Minister's letter

  9.2  In his letter of 1 March 2002, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr David Jamieson) tells us:

    "The European Commission's strategy on audits is far from clear. Initially, the UK understood their intention was to conduct 80 audits a year. Since then there has been considerable discussion about the interface of the EU audit programme with the ECAC audit programme (which is voluntary) and the proposed ICAO audit initiative. A popular view within Member States, which the UK shares, is that the Commission should confine its audit programme to regular examination of the respective national aviation security programmes, plus sample audits of key airports within each EU Member State, to ensure that they have appropriate quality control mechanisms in place. This would enable the Commission's resources to be used efficiently and would leave ECAC's programme, predicated on providing a service and advice to Member States, free to do just that, either independently or as the regional arm of an ICAO audit programme."

  9.3  As regards the Commission improving aviation security in third countries, the Minister says:

"In the future, the Commission could:

    (1)  engage with other regional entities and with major aviation players (i.e. the USA) to seek a commonality of standards based on the soon to be revised Annex 17 to the Chicago Convention;

    (2)  create a 'one­stop' EU aviation security club, which other States could join, to avoid the need to re­screen passengers, baggage or cargo provided that at least EU standard aviation security measures are applied at the point of origin and are regularly monitored under agreed quality control methodology; and

    (3)  work either directly or through its Member States in international fora such as ICAO and ECAC to drive up global standards to a more acceptable level."


  9.4  We thank the Minister for the further information. We have already cleared the document.

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Prepared 26 March 2002