Delivering on the Security Union: Commission proposes EU certification system for airport security equipment and to promote a more competitive EU security industry
The European Commission is today proposing to establish a single EU certification procedure for aviation security screening equipment to enhance the competitiveness of the EU security industry, as previously announced on 20 April when setting out the way forward towards the achievement of an effective and genuine EU Security Union. The introduction of an EU certificate will allow security equipment approved in one Member State to also be put on the market in others. The creation of an EU system of mutual recognition for security equipment will help overcome market fragmentation, strengthen the competitiveness of the EU security industry, boost employment in the sector and ultimately contribute to improving aviation security across Europe.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Technology can help us to prevent threats before they materialise, and strengthen the security of European citizens and the resilience of European society as a whole. Today’s proposal, by simplifying and harmonising the rules for the certification of airport screening equipment, will ensure that our high security screening standards are applied at airports everywhere in the EU. It will also contribute to boosting the competitiveness of the European security industry and improving its capacity to offer solutions enhancing the security of European citizens.”
Security equipment used for the screening of persons, cabin baggage and goods in the aviation sector represents a significant market: it has an annual global turnover of €14 billion, of which €4.2 billion is in the EU alone. Currently, however, the EU’s internal market for screening equipment is fragmented due to national certification procedures, which hamper market efficiency and the free movement of goods. Ensuring the free movement of civil aviation security screening equipment within the internal market will increase the global competitiveness of the EU security industry.
The existing EU legislation establishing the technical specifications and performance requirements for aviation security screening equipment at EU airports does not establish a legally binding EU-wide conformity assessment scheme to ensure that the required standards are met at all EU airports. Therefore, equipment certified in one EU Member State cannot be put on the market in others. The Commission’s proposal establishes a single EU certification system based on a common testing methodology and the issuance of certificates of conformity by manufacturers, which would be valid in all EU Member States, according to the principle of mutual recognition.
Aviation security screening equipment is the security equipment used for the screening of persons (passengers and airport staff), cabin baggage, hold baggage, supplies, air cargo and mail.
EU legislation on aviation security screening equipment is based on standards developed by the Commission and is continuously adapted to the evolving threat scenarios and risk assessments. However, EU legislation does currently not provide for a procedure for the automatic recognition of certified security equipment at EU level. Therefore, equipment certified in one EU Member State can be put on the market in that Member State only, and not across the Union.
The current EU legislation (Regulation (EC) No 300/2008), which establishes the technical specifications and performance requirements for aviation security screening equipment at EU airports, is not accompanied by a legally binding EU-wide conformity assessment scheme which would ensure that the required standards developed by the Commission are met at all EU airports. Therefore, in principle, equipment certified in one EU Member State can currently be put on the market in that Member State only. The current rules provide Member States with the possibility to either recognise certifications of other Member States, require additional testing in order to verify if the equipment meets the requirements prescribed by EU legislation or even to hinder its use on its territory.
Member States, in cooperation with the Commission, have partially addressed the fragmentation of the market through the development of common testing methodologies within the framework provided by the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC). In 2008, ECAC put in place a Common Evaluation Process (CEP) for the testing of screening equipment used in the aviation sector. Since then, the CEP has been reviewed and improved in terms of effectiveness but the system still lacks a legally binding framework to fully exploit its potential.
The European Commission adopted the European Agenda on Security on 28 April 2015, setting out the main actions to ensure an effective EU response to terrorism and security threats in the European Union over the period 2015-2020. The Agenda fulfilled a commitment made in the Political Guidelines of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and is a major building block of the renewed Internal Security Strategy that was adopted by the Council on 16 June 2015.
Following the Brussels attacks, President Juncker announced on 23 March that Europe needs a Security Union to effectively combat the threat of terrorism, building on the European Agenda on Security. On 20 April, the Commission set out the way forward towards the achievement of an effective and genuine EU Security Union. As part of the announced initiatives, the Commission confirmed that proposals on airport screening equipment certification would be presented in 2016.
Regulation establishing a Union certification system for aviation security screening equipment
Frequently Asked Questions: Commission proposes an EU certification system for aviation security screening equipment
Press Release: European Agenda on Security: Paving the way towards a Security Union
Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation security
Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 implementing acts, in particular the Commission Regulation (EU) No 2015/1998
Commission Communication on Security Industrial Policy Action Plan for an innovative and competitive Security Industry
Compliments of the European Commission