No stricter airport screening planned in EU security review: Official

Reuters , Wednesday 23 Mar 2016

European Union experts will next week discuss ways of strengthening security in airports after the attacks in Brussels on Tuesday that killed at least 31 people, an EU official said, but they will not put forward stricter EU-wide screening rules.

At least 10 were killed by two bombs at Zaventem airport, the main one in the Brussels area. The attackers accessed the airport without passing security checks, which in Europe usually only take place after check-in.

The European Commission, the EU executive arm, will host a meeting of aviation security experts from the 28 EU states, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said. An EU official said it would take place on March 31. A meeting of land transport security experts would be held on April 11.

There is no defined agenda for the meetings at the moment, but the Commission official ruled out stricter measures being imposed at EU level.

"Security is a national prerogative," the official said. "The Commission will not impose on a small airport in Finland the same security measures that may be required for major hubs such as Brussels or Paris."

Asked whether security scanners may be installed at airport entrances, the official said that would be a decision to be taken by national authorities.

Adding landside screening at airports might be costly and not improve security, the trade association of European airports, ACI Europe, said.

"(It) could be disruptive and actually create new security vulnerabilities" as earlier checks would simply move the target of attacks, it said in a statement. 

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