Germany Sued by EU for Lax Airport-Security Monitoring

The European Union took Germany to court for alleged shortcomings in overseeing anti-terrorism controls at airports.

The European Commission filed a lawsuit at the EU Court of Justice over German breaches of 2008 legislation that established minimum requirements for security at airports and on planes. In aligning national standards for screening passengers and bags, deploying air marshals and inspecting aircraft, the European law also required each EU government to draw up a program to check the quality of civil-aviation security.

Germany has failed “to regularly monitor all aviation-security measures at some German airports,” according to the commission, the 28-nation EU’s executive arm in Brussels. Without identifying the airports, the commission said its inspections showed Germany doesn’t comply with “the minimum frequency and the scope of controls required” under the EU law.

“We’re talking about the monitoring system of security controls in airports,” commission transport spokesman Jakub Adamowicz told reporters in the Belgian capital on Thursday. “It’s not about the security controls themselves.”

The 2008 EU legislation on airport security resulted from more than two years of European debate about how to improve aviation-security rules rushed through after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S. European policy makers said the 2002 rules failed to establish enough common standards while being too prescriptive.

The seven-year-old law, which also covers cargo and mail controls, staff recruitment and restricted areas, was a compromise that reflected the reluctance of national governments to cede anti-terrorism powers to the EU. While regulating sky marshals at the European level for the first time, the legislation continues to let member states decide whether to use these in-flight security officers.

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