EU Transport Ministers: flexibility to decision-making about aviation security measuresTransport ministers from the EU member states drew up policy lines for improving aviation security measures at their Council meeting in Luxembourg on 12 October. They also held talks on other key areas of Community transport policy.
The meeting was chaired by Finland's Minister of Transport and Communications, Susanna Huovinen.
The Council of Transport Ministers reached political agreement on an EU regulation which would make decision-making about aviation security provisions more flexible than it is at present. The security measures required of member states would no longer be described in detail in the regulation. This would make it possible to react quickly to security threats, and to make effective use of technical developments in protection systems and devices.
Discussions about the regulation will continue with the European Parliament. Minister Huovinen believes that a consensus about the contents of the regulation will be reached by the end of this year.
The ministers exchanged views on all the measures that have been taken in the transport sector, or still should be taken, due to the terrorist plans revealed in England in mid-August. The ministers encouraged the Commission and its Aviation Security Committee to closely observe whether the regulations limiting the carriage of liquids in hand luggage aboard a plane operate appropriately. The regulations will enter into force in November.
The ministers heard the European Commission's progress report about the air traffic negotiations between the EU and the United States. The Council was disappointed with the fact that the negotiations have not progressed further, due to the position and situation of the United States.
The ministers also received a good and thorough report from the Commission on the negotiations between the EU and Russia about charges for over-flying Siberia. As the country holding the Presidency Finland aims to promote the negotiations on both issues and seek a solution to the matters.
The transport ministers assessed the success of the Community's transport policy. There was a lively discussion about the Mid-term Review of the Transport Policy White Paper which was published in June. The member states identified their priorities in the European transport policy. One of the major concerns was the need to take the aspects of the environment, energy, innovation policy and new technology into account. The need to improve road safety measures was also emphasised.
The meeting took the European Galileo satellite navigation system another step forward by, for example, agreeing that the joint undertaking of the preparatory stage will be discontinued and its tasks transferred to the Galileo Supervisory Authority (GSA). The latter will be responsible for implementing the construction and taking into use of the system. The European Space Agency's degree of commitment to the programme, and the funding arrangements for Galileo, were also on the agenda.
Mr Perttu Puro, State Secretary, tel. +358 40 779 3436
Mr Reino Lampinen, Deputy Director-General, Transport Policy Department, tel. +358 50 515 1303
Ms Katariina Kivistö, Director of Press and Information, tel. +358 400 502128