Procedure : 2010/2154(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0216/2011

Texts tabled :

A7-0216/2011

Debates :

PV 05/07/2011 - 16
CRE 05/07/2011 - 16

Votes :

PV 06/07/2011 - 6.9
CRE 06/07/2011 - 6.9
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0329

REPORT     
PDF 214kWORD 181k
30.5.2011
PE 450.741v02-00 A7-0216/2011

on aviation security, with a special focus on security scanners

(2010/2154(INI))

Committee on Transport and Tourism

Rapporteur: Luis de Grandes Pascual

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on aviation security, with a special focus on security scanners

(2010/2154(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the use of security scanners at EU airports (COM(2010)0311),

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2008 on the impact of aviation security measures and security scanners on human rights, privacy, personal dignity and data protection(1),

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation security(2),

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 272/2009 of 2 April 2009 supplementing the common basic standards on civil aviation security laid down in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 300/2008(3),

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 185/2010 of 4 March 2010 laying down measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security(4),

–   having regard to the fifth report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security (COM(2010)0725),

–   having regard to its position of 5 May 2010 in the report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on aviation security charges(5),

–   having regard to the Council Recommendation of 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz)(6),

–   having regard to Directive 2004/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) (18th individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC)(7),

–    having regard to Directive 2006/25/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (artificial optical radiation) (19th individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC)(8),

–    having regard to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data(9),

–    having regard to Directive 96/29/Euratom of 13 May 1996 laying down basic safety standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionising radiation(10),

–    having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee's Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society on the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the use of security scanners at EU airports,

–    having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–    having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0216/2011),

Security scanners

A.  whereas security scanner is the generic term used for a technology that is capable of detecting metallic and non-metallic objects hidden in clothing; whereas detection performance lies in the scanner's ability to detect any prohibited object that the person screened may be carrying concealed in their clothing,

B.   whereas the EU's legal framework for aviation security provides for various screening methods and technologies that are considered capable of detecting prohibited items hidden in clothing, from which the Member States choose one or more; whereas security scanners do not currently figure on that list,

C.  whereas a number of Member States are currently using security scanners on a temporary basis - for a maximum of 30 months - at their airports, thereby exercising their right to conduct trials with new technologies (Chapter 12.8 of the annex to Commission Regulation (EU) No 185/2010),

D.  whereas Member States are entitled to apply more stringent measures than the common basic standards required by European legislation and may thus introduce security scanners on their territory; whereas, in this case, they must act on the basis of a risk assessment and in compliance with EU law; whereas these measures must be relevant, objective, non-discriminatory and proportional to the risk that is being addressed (Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008),

E.   whereas the introduction of security scanners by the Member States in either of the above two cases makes genuine one-stop security impossible; whereas if the present situation continues the operating conditions that apply to the Member States will not be uniform and will therefore not benefit passengers,

F.  whereas the discussion about security scanners should not be held separately from the general debate on an integrated overall security policy for Europe’s airports,

G.  whereas health is an asset to be preserved and a right to be protected; whereas exposure to ionising radiation represents a risk that should be avoided; whereas, therefore, scanners using ionising radiation whose effects are cumulative and harmful to human health should not be permitted in the European Union,

H.  whereas both EU legislation and the laws of the Member States already lay down rules on protection against health hazards that may arise from the use of technologies emitting ionising radiation and on limits for exposure to such radiation; whereas, therefore, scanners using ionising radiation should be prohibited in the European Union;

I.    whereas the Commission consulted the European Data Protection Supervisor, the Article 29 Working Party and the European Fundamental Rights Agency, and their replies contain significant elements regarding the conditions under which the use of security scanners at airports could comply with the protection of fundamental rights,

J.   whereas concerns over health and the right to privacy, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, non-discrimination and data protection need to be addressed in terms of both the technology involved and its use before the introduction of security scanners can be considered,

K. whereas security scanners, in addition to ensuring a greater level of security than current equipment, should help speed up checks on passengers and cut waiting times,

Financing aviation security

L.   whereas the Council has not yet stated its standpoint on Parliament's position on the directive on aviation security charges,

Security measures for cargo

M.  whereas the most recent terrorist plots uncovered by the intelligence services aimed to use cargo to carry out attacks,

N.  whereas not only passengers but also cargo and mail are and must be subject to the appropriate security measures,

O. whereas cargo and mail loaded on to passenger planes present a target for terrorist attacks; whereas, given that the level of security for cargo and mail is much lower than for passengers, security measures must be tightened for mail and cargo which is loaded on to passenger planes,

P.   whereas security measures concern not only airports but the entire supply chain,

Q.  whereas postal operators play an important role in the field of aviation security in managing mail and parcels, and whereas, pursuant to European legislation, they have invested significant sums of money and introduced new technologies to guarantee compliance with international and European security standards,

International relations

R.   whereas international coordination on aviation security measures is needed in order to guarantee a high level of protection, whilst avoiding a situation where passengers are subjected to successive checks, with the restrictions and additional costs these entail,

Training of security staff

S.  whereas initial and further training for security staff is crucial in order to guarantee a high level of aviation security, which must in turn be compatible with a way of treating passengers that preserves their dignity as individuals and protects their personal data,

General considerations

1.   Takes the view that an integrated approach to aviation security is needed, with one-stop security so that passengers, luggage and cargo arriving at an EU airport from another EU airport do not need to be screened again;

2.   Takes the view that some scanning methods that are effective and quick for passengers, given the time taken at checkpoints, constitute added value in the field of aviation security;

3. Calls on the Commission to research the use of other techniques for detecting explosives, including solidmaterials, in the field of aviation security;

4. Calls on the Commission and Member States to develop an integrated risk-analysis system for passengers who may with good reason be suspected of being a security threat and for checks on luggage and cargo, based on all available, reliable information, in particular that provided by the police, intelligence services, customs and transport undertakings; takes the view that the entire system should be informed by the search for effectiveness, but based on respect for the principle of non-discrimination;

5. Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure effective cooperation, security management and exchange of information among all the authorities and services involved, and between the authorities and security and air transport undertakings, at both European and national level;

6.  Calls on the Commission to revise regularly the list of authorised screening methods and the conditions and minimum standards for their implementation, to take account of possible problems, practical experience and technological progress, in order to provide a high level of detection performance and protection of passengers’ and workers’ rights and interests, in keeping with that progress;

7.  Emphasises the importance of the fight against terrorism and organised crime, which constitute threats to the security of the European Union, as already identified in the Stockholm Programme, and to that end supports, in this context only, the use of security measures designed to prevent terrorist incidents that are prescribed by law, effective, necessary in a free and open democratic society, proportionate to the aim pursued and fully consistent with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); recalls that the confidence of citizens in their institutions is essential and that a fair balance must therefore be struck between the need to ensure security and the safeguarding of fundamental rights and freedoms;

8.   Stresses, in that connection, that any counterterrorism measure should be fully consistent with fundamental rights and the obligations of the European Union, which are necessary in a democratic society, and must be proportionate, strictly necessary, prescribed by law and thus restricted to their specified purpose;

Security scanners

9. Calls on the Commission to propose adding security scanners to the list of authorised screening methods, under the condition that it will be accompanied with appropriate rules and common minimum standards for their use, as set out in this resolution, only if the impact assessment that the European Parliament requested in 2008 has first been carried out which demonstrates that the devices do not constitute a risk to passenger health, personal data, the individual dignity and privacy of passengers and the effectiveness of these scanners;

10. Believes that the use of security scanners must be regulated by common EU rules, procedures and standards that not only lay down detection performance criteria, but also impose the necessary safeguards to protect the health and fundamental rights and interests of passengers, workers, crew members and security staff;

11. Believes that security scanners should serve to speed up the pace and tempo of checks at airports and reduce inconvenience to passengers, and thus calls on the Commission to take this aspect into account in its proposed legislation;

12. Proposes, more specifically, that the Commission, having established common rules on the use of security scanners, should revise these rules on a regular basis and when necessary, to adapt the provisions on the protection of health, privacy, personal data and fundamental rights to technological progress;

Necessity and proportionality

13. Believes that the escalating terrorist threat means that public authorities must take the protective and preventive measures demanded by democratic societies;

14. Considers that the detection performance of security scanners is higher than that offered by current metal detectors, particularly with regard to non-metallic objects and liquids, whilst full hand-search is more likely to cause more irritation, waste more time and face more opposition than a scanner;

15. Takes the view that the use of security scanners, provided that the appropriate safeguards are in place, is preferable to other less demanding methods which would not guarantee a similar degree of protection; recalls that, in the area of aviation security, the use of intelligence in a broad sense and well-educated airport security staff should remain our core priorities;

16. Takes the view that concerns and demands regarding privacy and health can be resolved with the technology and methods available; considers that the technology now being developed is promising and that the best available technology ought to be used;

17. Takes the view that the installation of security scanners, or the decision not to install them, falls within the responsibility and freedom of decision of the EU Member States; considers, however, that further harmonisation of the use of scanners is needed in order to create a coherent European aviation security area;

18. Takes the view that when Member States install security scanners, they must comply with the minimum standards and requirements set by the EU for all the Member States, without prejudice to the latter’s right to apply more stringent measures;

19. Considers that Member States should supplement control points and security staff in order to ensure that passengers are not affected by the deployment of security scanners;

20. Takes the view that people undergoing checks should be given a choice as to whether use security scanners whereby if they refuse, they would be obliged to submit to alternative screening methods that guarantee the same level of effectiveness as security scanners and full respect for their rights and dignity; stresses that such a refusal should not give rise to any suspicion of the passenger;

Health

21. Points out that European and national legislation must be applied in accordance with the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle in particular;

22. Calls on the Member States to deploy technology which is the least harmful to human health and which offers acceptable solutions to the public's privacy concerns;

23. Takes the view that exposure to doses of cumulative ionising radiation cannot be acceptable; believes, therefore, that any form of technology using ionising radiation should be explicitly excluded from use in security screening;

24. Calls on the Commission to examine the possibility, under the next research framework programme, of using technology that is completely harmless to all members of the public and which at the same time guarantees aviation security;

25. Calls on the Member States to periodically monitor the long-term effects of exposure to security scanners, taking new scientific developments into account, and to check that the equipment has been correctly installed and is properly used and operated;

26. Insists that proper account be taken of specific cases and that fair and personalised treatment be given to passengers who are vulnerable in terms of health and the ability to communicate, such as pregnant women, children, elderly people, people with disabilities, and people with implanted medical devices (e.g. orthopaedic prostheses and pacemakers), as well as all persons having with them the medicines and/or medical devices they need to maintain their health (e.g. syringes, insulin);

Body images

27. Believes that only stick figures should be used and insists that no body images may be produced;

28.  Stresses that data generated by the scanning process must not be used for purposes other than that of detecting prohibited objects, may be used only for the amount of time necessary for the screening process, must be destroyed immediately after each person has passed through the security control and may not be stored;

Prohibition of discrimination

29. Takes the view that the operating rules must ensure that a random process of selection is applied and passengers must not be selected to pass through a security scanner on the basis of discriminatory criteria;

30. Stresses that any form of profiling based on, for example, sex, race, colour, ethnicity, genetic features, language, religion or belief is unacceptable as part of the procedure concerning selection for or refusal of a security scan;

Data protection

31. Considers that all security scanners should make use of a stick figure to protect passengers’ identities and to ensure that they cannot be identified through images of any part of their body;

32. Stresses that the technology used must not have the capacity to store or save data;

33. Recalls that the use of security scanners must comply with Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data;

34. Emphasises that those Member States which decide to use security scanners should be able, in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, to apply more rigid standards than those defined in the European legislation on the protection of citizens and their personal data;

Information for people scanned

35. Takes the view that people undergoing checks should receive comprehensive information in advance, particularly regarding the operation of the scanner concerned, the conditions in place to protect the right to dignity, privacy and data protection and the option of refusing to pass through the scanner;

36. Calls for Commission information campaigns on air passenger rights to include a section which also details passengers’ rights regarding security screening and security scanners;

Treatment of people scanned

37. Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that security staff receive special training in the use of security scanners in such a way as to respect passengers’ fundamental rights, personal dignity, data protection and health; in that connection, considers that a code of conduct could be a very useful tool for the security staff in charge of scanners;

Financing aviation security

38. Recalls its position of 5 May 2010 on aviation security charges;

39. Takes the view that security charges should be transparent, that they should be used only to cover security costs and that Member States which decide to apply more stringent measures should finance the ensuing additional costs;

40. Urges the Council to immediately adopt a position on aviation security charges at first reading, given that legislation on aviation security and legislation on aviation security charges are closely linked;

41. Recommends that every passenger’s ticket should show the cost of security measures;

Ban on liquids, aerosols and gels (LAG)

42. Reiterates and upholds its standpoint that the ban on carrying liquids should come to an end in 2013, as laid down in EU law; therefore urges all parties concerned, the Commission, the Member States and the industry, to work closely together in order to ensure that the restrictions on the carriage of liquids on board aircraft are removed, for the benefit of passengers;

43. Invites Member States and airports to take all necessary action to ensure that adequate technology is available in good time so that the scheduled end of the ban on carrying liquids does not have the effect of undermining security;

44. Takes the view, in this context, that all those involved should take the necessary action to make the transition from a ban on carrying liquids, aerosols and gels to checks on those items as satisfactory and uniform as possible, guaranteeing passengers’ rights at all times;

Security measures for cargo

45. Takes the view that, on the basis of a risk analysis, checks on cargo and mail should be proportional to the threats posed by their transport and that adequate security should be guaranteed, particularly where cargo and mail are carried in passenger planes;

46. Recalls that 100% scanning of cargo is not practicable; asks the Member States to continue their efforts to implement Regulation (EC) No 300/2008, and the corresponding Commission Regulation (EC) No 185/2010, in order to enhance security throughout the entire supply chain;

47. Takes the view that the level of security for cargo still varies from one Member State to another and that, with a view to achieving one-stop security, the Member States should ensure that the existing measures relating to European cargo and mail are correctly applied and that regulated agents approved by another Member State are recognised;

48. Believes that the Member States’ security measures for air cargo and mail and the Commission’s inspection of these measures have been stepped up, and therefore considers it absolutely essential to draw up a technical report with a view to identifying the weaknesses of the current cargo system and possible ways of remedying them;

49. Calls on the Commission and Member States to strengthen screening and inspections concerning air cargo, including those relating to the validation of regulated agents for known consignors; stresses the need, to this end, to have more inspectors available at national level;

50. Stresses the potential of customs information for calculating the risk associated with specific consignments, and asks the Commission to continue its work on the possible use of customs-related electronic systems for aviation security purposes; in particular by making use of the EU’s Import Control System to improve cooperation between customs authorities;

51. Asks the Commission to take all the necessary steps to ensure the safe transport of cargo originating in third countries, starting at the airport of origin, and to lay down criteria for determining high-risk cargo, identifying the responsibility of each of the various agents;

52. Asks the Commission to ensure that the security programme takes account of the specific characteristics of all the players affected and reconciles security measures relating to the exchange of mail and cargo with the need to ensure a dynamic economy that continues to encourage trade, service quality and the development of e-commerce;

53. Calls on the Commission to propose a harmonised system for the initial and further training of security staff in relation to cargo, in order to remain abreast of the latest technical developments in the field of security;

International relations

54. Calls on the Commission and Member States to work with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and third countries on risk assessment and intelligence systems in the field of aviation security;

55. Calls on the Commission and Member States to promote global regulatory standards within the framework of the ICAO in order to support the efforts made by third countries to implement those standards, move towards the mutual recognition of security measures and pursue the objective of effective one-stop security;

o

o o

56.    Believes that the comitology procedure is inappropriate in the aviation security sector, at least for measures having an impact on citizens’ rights, and calls for Parliament to be fully involved through codecision;

57. Expects the Commission to submit a legislative proposal in the course of the current parliamentary term on adapting Regulation (EC) No 300/2008, taking account of the Commission's own statement of 16 December 2010 in the context of the adoption of the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers;

58. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

OJ C 15 E, 21.1.2010, p. 71.

(2)

OJ L 97, 9.4.2008, p. 72.

(3)

OJ L 91, 3.4.2009, p. 7.

(4)

OJ L 55, 5.3.2010, p. 1.

(5)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0123.

(6)

OJ L 199, 30.7.1999, p. 59.

(7)

OJ L 184, 24.5.2004, p. 1.

(8)

OJ L 114, 27.4.2006, p. 3.

(9)

OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31.

(10)

OJ L 159, 29.6.1996, p. 1.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

An integral view of aviation security

The communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the use of security scanners that was the initial subject of this report on aviation security has been superseded by subsequent events.

Successive terrorist alerts, first in the United Kingdom, when an explosive package was found on a cargo plane, and subsequently in Greece, when the Greek police intercepted a number of parcel bombs addressed to a senior figure and various embassies in Athens, have obliged the EU to take measures in proportion to the new risks that have been detected.

Parliament is therefore taking up the challenge of analysing the measures adopted and proposing others where appropriate, with a view to preventing risks on the basis of an integral view of civil aviation security.

This report thus addresses security scanners, an analysis of the decisions taken on liquids, aerosols and gels (LAG) and security measures for cargo and mail.

The fight against terrorism and civil aviation security

We are living at a time when globalisation is not a working hypothesis but an incontrovertible fact. In this interconnected world, terrorism is unfortunately not an isolated phenomenon affecting some countries and leaving others untouched. Any form of terrorism is impossible to justify in a democratic society and there is no cause that might legitimise it.

That being the case, the competent democratic institutions have an inescapable duty to take whatever measures are necessary to guarantee public safety. Decisions taken on grounds of security often imply the loss of certain freedoms and inevitably entail inconvenience, disruption and a change in normal modes of behaviour.

Sadly, in the hierarchy of values of modern societies, security is presented as a value that needs to be preserved because it is not guaranteed. Democratic societies give their representatives in the relevant institutions a mandate to protect them, whilst at the same time asking that this should not be done by whatever means and at any price. European citizens demand that the adoption of security measures should not curtail their fundamental rights.

The need to improve civil aviation security

Civil aviation security is doubtless one of the European Union's main concerns. Since the attacks of 11 September 2001 a series of measures have been drawn up, defined in Community regulations that seek to prevent and avoid any terrorist attack or incident that affects public safety.

Legislation on aviation security has thus developed as follows:

· following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 the foundations were laid for a Community policy that had previously remained within the national domain, and Regulation No 2320/2002 was adopted;

· in December 2001 the so-called shoe bomber attempted to hide explosives in the heels of his shoes, as a result of which specific measures were laid down at European level to improve checks on passengers' footwear;

· in August 2006 the use of liquid explosives in attempted attacks on several aircraft over the Atlantic led to an immediate ban on carrying liquids on board planes;

· in the light of accumulated experience in the field of civil aviation security it became necessary to update Regulation No 2320/2002, and the basis for European legislation on civil aviation security, Regulation 300/2008, was adopted. That Regulation simplified, harmonised and clarified the existing rules;

· on 25 December 2009 an attempted terrorist attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit using concealed explosives revealed the limitations of current systems for carrying out checks to detect non-metallic prohibited items at European airports. As a consequence, a number of countries started to carry out tests or adopted more stringent security measures and introduced security scanners as a means of screening passengers;

· the recent attacks at the end of October 2010 when explosive packages were sent to the United States and discovered in the United Kingdom and Dubai led to more stringent security measures for air cargo and a European action plan for the coming years.

To sum up, there are three main regulations on civil aviation security:

· Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules in the field of civil aviation security;

· Commission Regulation (EC) No 272/2009 supplementing the common basic standards on civil aviation security laid down in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 300/2008;

· Commission Regulation (EC) No 185/2010 laying down measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security.

Justification for this own-initiative report

Security scanners

Context

Given that the EU's legislative framework on aviation security lays down the list of screening and control methods and technologies from which the Member States and/or airports are to choose, the current legislation will need to be amended to include security scanners on that list (without prejudice to the possibility of installing scanners for trial purposes or as a more stringent security measure).

Background

When the Commission submitted its draft regulation to Parliament in 2008, including security scanners as one of the recognised methods for screening persons, Parliament delivered a critical opinion in its resolution of 23 October 2008 on the grounds that including security scanners did not offer any added value and raised doubts regarding the preservation of fundamental rights. Parliament's resolution stressed the impact of security scanners on human rights, privacy, personal dignity and data protection and called for an in-depth analysis of the situation.

Commission communication

In response to Parliament's 2008 resolution, the Commission has now submitted a communication which goes some way to resolving the concerns expressed by Parliament:

· consultation of the European Data Protection Supervisor;

· scientific and medical assessment of the health impact;

· cost-benefit assessment, as far as possible, of the economic and commercial impact;

· assessment of the impact on fundamental rights.

The purpose of this report is therefore to respond to the Commission's appeal for discussion and joint consideration by the three institutions with a view to moving forward on this common task, which is to protect European citizens.

Rapporteur's assessment

The rapporteur's assessment of the Commission communication is positive. He considers that the Commission has found a satisfactory way of resolving the reasonable doubts that Parliament raised in 2008.

The rapporteur recommends the implementation of harmonised rules across the EU regulating operating conditions and common standards for the detection performance of scanners.

The new-generation security scanners appear to offer a suitable means of improving security in EU air transport. They provide added value in relation to the effectiveness of security screening at EU airports and are also proportional to the risk that is being averted.

Liquids, aerosols and gels (LAG)

Background to the situation regarding LAG at European airports

A ban on carrying liquids, gels and aerosols in hand luggage in amounts exceeding 100 ml has been in place since 2006.

In September 2007 Parliament adopted resolution P6_TA(2007)0374, in which it called on the Commission to 'review urgently and – if no further conclusive facts are brought forward – to repeal Regulation 1546/2006'. Since then various attempts to end the ban have led to a common position of the three institutions whereby the ban on carrying liquids is to be phased out.

The current state of legislation on LAG

Commission Regulation (EU) 297/2010 of 9 April 2010 put an end to the restrictions on LAG and created a system for phasing out the ban and moving to a system of screening for liquid explosives.

That Regulation requires that airports should have an effective mechanism in place until they are in a position to install reliable detection equipment, an objective which is to be achieved by 29 April 2013. By that date, all airports should have the capability to screen liquids, aerosols and gels.

The phases are as follows:

Liquids, aerosols and gels may be taken into security-restricted areas and on board an aircraft provided they are screened or exempted from screening in accordance with the requirements of the implementing rules:

· by 29 April 2011 liquids, aerosols and gels obtained at a third-country airport or on board an aircraft of a non-Community air carrier may be taken into security-restricted areas and on board an aircraft;

· by 29 April 2013 all airports must screen liquids, aerosols and gels in accordance with the requirements of implementing rules adopted pursuant to Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008.

Cargo and mail

The European security system for cargo is based on two complementary pillars:

· Screening of cargo and mail: All cargo and mail must be screened before being loaded onto an aircraft. This screening is carried out: by a regulated agent (the air carrier, the agent or any other entity carrying out security checks), by a known consignor (the consignor who originates cargo or mail on its own account and whose procedures meet common security rules and standards sufficient to allow the carriage of cargo or mail) or by an account consignor (the consignor who originates cargo or mail for its own account and whose procedures meet common security rules and standards sufficient to allow carriage of that cargo on all-cargo aircraft or mail on all-mail aircraft). Cargo that has not been screened beforehand may not be loaded onto the aircraft.

· Protection of cargo and mail along the supply chain: Cargo and mail to be carried on an aircraft must be protected from unauthorised interference from the point at which security controls are applied until the departure of the aircraft. Cargo and mail that are not adequately protected from unauthorised interference after security controls have been applied must be screened.

Context

After the incidents in late October and early November 2010 the European Union quickly introduced additional security measures for cargo, taking particular account of the fact that cargo is often carried on passenger planes.

EU aviation security experts promptly recommended a number of guiding principles: security screening of cargo and mail should be based on a common risk assessment, including the characteristics of the consignment, on the quality of security checks carried out beforehand, on the type of air transport (passenger plane or all-cargo or all-mail plane), and the place of origin.

It was also agreed to set up a working party that would put forward new proposals aimed at strengthening aviation security. The current framework for action is based on the plan drawn up by the high-level group for strengthening air cargo security.

There are three main areas of action to improve air cargo screening:

· Strengthening and harmonising European legislation on air cargo: specifically with regard to security checks on cargo and mail from third countries, and improving training and screening at European and national level;

· Improving coordination and the exchange of information in the EU: the current customs system has been strengthened as from 1 January 2011. An effective exchange of information is needed among the Member States;

· Raising global standards: this requires continuing to cooperate fully with the International Civil Aviation Organisation to ensure that packages originating in third countries comply with European or equivalent rules when they cross our borders.

It is in this context that the rapporteur has formed his views and calls on the Commission to continue with these improvements, whilst also suggesting a series of measures that he considers crucial in order to remedy the lack of security for cargo.

It should not be forgotten that screening, the intelligence and security services, the exchange of police information and analysis of the human factor are key elements in the area of aviation security as a whole.

All this forms part of an integrated approach to aviation security that seeks to provide the highest level of protection for European citizens, which is a basic and vital task of European legislators. In short, it is a question of protecting democratic values and fighting against the terrorism that threatens them.


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (27.1.2011)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on aviation security with a special focus on security scanners

(2010/2154(INI))

Rapporteur: Crescenzio Rivellini

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Notes that Member States and airport administrations are making growing use of body scanners in the belief that they can increase the ability of security staff to detect prohibited items, such as liquid or plastic explosives, that cannot be identified by existing metal detectors, as well as eliminating the need for passengers to undergo the discomfort and indignity of body searches;

2.  Acknowledges that Member States have a legal right to insist upon the use of body scanners where they believe that this will enhance security over and above the requirements of EU legislation, or for trial purposes, and trusts that the trials now underway in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Italy and the UK will contribute information that will help the Commission to develop Europe-wide best practice standards for regulations and codes of practice that will protect personal data and safeguard human health;

3.  Takes note of the Commission’s Communication of 15 June 2010 on the Use of Security Scanners at EU airports, (COM(2010)0311 final), and the conclusions and recommendations therein;

4.  Acknowledges the importance of security scanners as an additional tool to protect the travelling public, but emphasises the fundamental importance of making proper use of cross-border intelligence, monitoring central reservation systems and passenger profiling in identifying potential terrorist threats;

5.  Calls on the Commission to examine the possibility, under the next research framework programme, of using technology that is completely harmless to all members of the public and which at the same time ensures air security;

6.  Calls on Member States to deploy technology which is the least harmful for human health and which offers acceptable solutions to the public’s privacy concerns;

7.  Notes that a range of body scanners using different technologies are already in operation, believes that each must be assessed on its own merits and supports the view of the European Commission, as expressed in its recent Communication, that a common level of protection for European citizens could be ensured by way of technical standards and operational conditions that would have to be laid down in EU legislation;

8.  Suggests, as the safest solution from a medical viewpoint, technology based on passive millimetre wave imaging systems, which do not emit any radiation;

9.  Calls on the Commission to present a proposal on using passive scanners, accompanied by an impact assessment on the relative cost, efficacy and respect for integrity of using this technology as compared to other anti-terror measures;

10. Proposes, as the most suitable solution – i.e. as the best compromise between the probability of an effective result and the risks to human health – active millimetre wave imaging systems using non-ionising radiation, which is not considered harmful if exposure remains below the limit values laid down in existing legislation;

11. Points out that the technology based on backscatter X-ray scanning emits a low dose of X-rays and proposes therefore that this technology be avoided, as clearly any exposure to ionising radiation, however low, may have long-term effects on health due to the cumulative effect of radiation;

12. Calls, where use of backscatter X-ray technology cannot be avoided, for special treatment to be given to passengers who are sensitive to ionising radiation (e.g. pregnant women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities) and considers that exemptions should also be granted to those with implanted medical devices (e.g. orthopaedic prostheses, pacemakers and defibrillators);

13. Stresses that the technology based on X-ray images emits a high dose of X-rays and should therefore not be considered for systematic screening as far as air safety is concerned;

14. Calls on the Member States to periodically monitor the long‑term effects of exposure to body scanners, taking new scientific developments into account, and to check that the equipment has been correctly installed and is properly used and operated;

15. Insists that passengers be informed in an appropriate manner about the possible health impacts and risks with regard to both body scanning and the subsequent flight;

16. Calls on the Member States to provide passengers with relevant, comprehensive and clear information on all aspects of the use of body scanners for security applications;

17. Calls, for as long as reasonable doubts remain as to the safety for human health of body scanners, for travellers to be informed sufficiently in advance that they are to undergo a body scan, and for there to be a genuine alternative available involving a different type of check;

18. Calls on the Commission to propose that special training that takes into account the impact on personal dignity, health and the protection of personal data be provided for security staff responsible for using body scanners;

19. Calls on the Commission in conjunction with the Member States to produce a code of conduct on use of security scanners, which requires airports to undertake scanning sensitively, having regard to passengers’ privacy;

20. Calls on the sector concerned to draw up, in cooperation with the Commission and the Member States, a code of professional ethics for people responsible for using body scanners that takes into account those persons most vulnerable and those working in the sector, the right to personal privacy and dignity, and the relevant legislation on data protection;

21. Calls on the Commission to submit, after two years, a report on costs and benefits and on health impacts;

22 Calls on the Commission to propose without delay a legal framework on the use of body scanners at EU airports that will pay full respect to fundamental rights and address health concerns.


OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (27.4.2011)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on aviation security with a special focus on security scanners

(2010/2154(INI))

Rapporteur: Judith Sargentini

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Emphasises the importance of the fight against terrorism and organised crime, which constitute threats to the security of the European Union, as already identified in the Stockholm Programme, and to that end supports in this only the use of security measures aimed at the prevention of terrorist incidents that are prescribed by law, effective, necessary in a free and open democratic society, proportionate to the aim pursued and fully respect the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); recalls that the confidence of citizens in their institutions is essential and that there must therefore be a fair balance between the need to ensure security and a guarantee of fundamental rights and freedoms;

2.  Stresses in that regard that any counterterrorism measure should be in full accordance with the fundamental rights and obligations of the European Union, which are necessary in a democratic society, and must be proportionate, strictly necessary, prescribed by law and thus delimited within the specific aim it wishes to achieve;

3.  Recalls that the use of body scanners must comply with Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data(1);

4.  Stresses that the objectives and the expected value of the use of body scanners must be clearly defined;

5.  Urges in this regard that the aim to be achieved should be precisely and duly specified; calls for an extensive technical assessment to be carried out regarding the usefulness of body scanners; urges furthermore that the use of body scanners be prohibited in the event of any ambiguous or non-positive assessment;

6.  Notes that only few Member States have carried out trials of body scanners(2) and many of these have abandoned body scanners subsequently, due to the high costs, delays and inefficacy(3), while most of the Member States have not deployed body scanners or have opposed them or affirmed that they do not intend to buy, deploy and use them;

7.  Notes that, regardless of the inclusion of body scanners in the list of methods of screening allowed, those Member States already using body scanners are bound to ensure that citizens’ fundamental rights enshrined in the ECHR and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights are respected, protected and promoted, notably the right to privacy and to health, as furthermore requested by Parliament;

8.  Highlights that those Member States that have used body scanners have excluded some categories of vulnerable persons, such as children, pregnant women, elderly people and persons with disabilities or with implanted medical devices and workers who are frequently exposed to radiation, and that common rules in this field must be applied at EU level when Member States deploy and use body scanners;

9.  Believes that the comitology procedure in the aviation security sector, at least for measures having an impact on citizens’ rights, is inappropriate and calls for Parliament to be fully involved through ‘codecision’;

10. Points out that the decision to install security scanners at airports falls within the sphere of competence of the Member States, and in this context they must meet the minimum common standards and requirements set by the European Union;

11. Considers in that regard that the decision to use body scanners in airports should not be mandatory for Member States; stresses that if a Member State chooses to deploy body scanners in its airports, those body scanners should meet the minimum standards and requirements set at EU level;

12. Underlines that those Member States which decide to use body scanners should be able, under the principle of subsidiarity, to apply more rigid standards than those defined in the European legislation on the protection of citizens and their personal data;

13. Calls for every body scanner to meet a minimum set of technical requirements before it can be placed on a permissible screening methods list, and considers that these requirements should inter alia ensure the prevention of any possible health risk to passengers and staff members, including long-term risks; calls in this regard, taking into account the current state of technology, for the use of those scanners which use ionising radiation, for example x-rays, which can have a cumulative effect, to be restricted and calls for further research into their effects;

14. Calls in that regard on the Member States to periodically monitor the long-term effects of exposure to security scanners, taking new scientific developments into account, and to check that the equipment has been correctly installed and is properly used and operated;

15. Insists furthermore that body scanners should only be equipped with technology that does not enable any possibility of rendering full body images but merely standardised gender-neutral ‘stick figure’ images that are fully anonymised, and that any data processing or data storage must not be possible;

16. Calls on the Commission to impose deterrent sanctions for unauthorised recording or distribution of security screening images;

17. Calls for periodic technical controls to be carried out by a competent organisation to review the devices’ integrity and their compliance with the conditions laid down in paragraphs 13 and 15;

18. Stresses that every passenger and staff member has the right to refuse a body scan, without the obligation to give any explanation, and the right to request a standard security check, with full respect for the rights and dignity of that person; calls in this regard for all security personnel to receive proper and extensive training; insists that the restriction of use of those scanners which use ionising radiation, for example x-rays, would avoid the need to lay down explicit exceptions for vulnerable persons such as pregnant women, children, handicapped people or people with medical conditions that would render such checks inappropriate;

19. Stresses that refusal to undergo a body scan should not ipso facto give rise to any suspicion of the passenger or staff member concerned or additional burdens, including exhaustive searches or delays, and that, in the procedure before being submitted to a body scan or related to the refusal of a body scan, any form of profiling based on, for example, sex, race, colour, ethnicity, national origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief is unacceptable;

20. Calls for passengers and staff members to receive prior, proper and comprehensive information about the body scanner and the procedure of being checked by it, including their right to refuse to go through a body scanner and their right to complain and seek effective legal redress in case of irregularities related to the body scan or their refusal to be submitted to it and the subsequent standard security check; stresses that information to the passengers and staff members about the body scanner and the procedure of being checked by it should be provided not only at the time of the booking by the airline or on the airport website but also at the screenings; stresses the need for proper training of security personnel in this regard;

21. Stresses that any proposal to allow the deployment and use of body scanners as a permissible screening method should be extensively justified in an impact assessment covering, inter alia, the fundamental rights aspect of body scanners, the proportionality and necessity, taking into account the added value for the fight against terrorism, the costs incurred as a result of the acquisition, installation and operation of body scanners and the possible health risks to passengers and staff members, in particular vulnerable passengers and staff members, also having regard to the opinions of the European Union, international and national human rights and data protection authorities, such as the EDPS, the Article 29 Working Party, the Fundamental Rights Agency, the World Health Organisation and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism;

22. Expects that the Commission will base its proposal on extensive independent and objective scientific information gathered among EU experts in the field and without interference from the industry sector, Member States’ governments and third countries;

23. Stresses that the technical specifications of the European Civil Aviation Conference Technical Task Force and the vendor contracts for body scanners should be declassified and made publicly available;

24. Recommends that every passenger’s ticket show the cost of security measures;

25. Requests that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights be asked to provide an extensive opinion on the fundamental rights aspect of any proposal concerning the deployment and use of body scanners;

26. Asks the Commission to explore alternatives to the use of body scanners, taking into account other measures already in use for detecting aviation security threats, demonstrating the need to replace current airport security monitoring measures with these scanners;

27. Calls on the Commission, the Council and the committee responsible to replace the words ‘security scanner(s)’ with the words ‘body scanner(s)’ where the scanners are used to screen persons, including in the title of the report, thereby avoiding inappropriate and unnecessary confusion and ambiguities.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

19.4.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

41

3

0

Members present for the final vote

Jan Philipp Albrecht, Roberta Angelilli, Gerard Batten, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Emine Bozkurt, Simon Busuttil, Carlos Coelho, Rosario Crocetta, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Cornelia Ernst, Kinga Göncz, Nathalie Griesbeck, Sylvie Guillaume, Anna Hedh, Salvatore Iacolino, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Timothy Kirkhope, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Monica Luisa Macovei, Nuno Melo, Louis Michel, Claude Moraes, Jan Mulder, Antigoni Papadopoulou, Georgios Papanikolaou, Carmen Romero López, Judith Sargentini, Birgit Sippel, Csaba Sógor, Rui Tavares, Wim van de Camp, Daniël van der Stoep, Axel Voss

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Edit Bauer, Ioan Enciu, Ana Gomes, Monika Hohlmeier, Franziska Keller, Hubert Pirker, Zuzana Roithová, Joanna Senyszyn, Michèle Striffler, Cecilia Wikström

(1)

OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31.

(2)

UK, NL, DE, DK.

(3)

IT and FIN.


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

24.5.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

37

2

3

Members present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Georges Bach, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Antonio Cancian, Michael Cramer, Ryszard Czarnecki, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Christine De Veyrac, Saïd El Khadraoui, Ismail Ertug, Knut Fleckenstein, Jacqueline Foster, Mathieu Grosch, Jim Higgins, Juozas Imbrasas, Ville Itälä, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Georgios Koumoutsakos, Werner Kuhn, Jörg Leichtfried, Bogusław Liberadzki, Eva Lichtenberger, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Gesine Meissner, Hubert Pirker, Vilja Savisaar-Toomast, Olga Sehnalová, Debora Serracchiani, Brian Simpson, Dirk Sterckx, Keith Taylor, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Giommaria Uggias, Thomas Ulmer, Dominique Vlasto, Artur Zasada, Roberts Zīle

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Philip Bradbourn, Guido Milana, Dominique Riquet, Alfreds Rubiks, Laurence J.A.J. Stassen

Legal notice - Privacy policy