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Brussels, 16 February 2011

Air transport: Commission requests Poland to apply security standards at airports

The European Commission has today requested Poland to fully apply European Union legislation on aviation security. The Commission is concerned that Poland is not applying the common standards of security at certain airports, and has not put in place any alternative security methods. This request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If the Polish authorities fail to inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure compliance with EU law, the Commission could refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.

What are the EU rules on aviation security?

European legislation on civil aviation securityRegulation 300/2008 – establishes common basic standards to be applied at all EU airports not exclusively used for military purposes. The aim of these common standards is to protect people and goods by preventing acts of unlawful interference that would jeopardise security. The legislation establishes, among other things, rules on access control at airports, screening of passengers and baggage, and protection of cargo and mail. Member States are responsible for ensuring the correct application of these standards. Under justified circumstances, Member States may adopt alternative security measures at airports satisfying certain criteria established under EU law (Regulation 1254/2009). In such a case, the Member State must inform the Commission of such measures.

How is Poland not respecting these rules?

Poland claims that certain "small" airports in its territory do not fall under the EU legislation and it therefore does not ensure the application of the common basic standards at these airports. Poland has not informed the Commission of the adoption of alternative security measures for these airports, although such notification is required by Regulation 1254/2009. By neither applying the common basic standards on aviation security nor adopting alternative security measures providing an adequate level of protection, Poland cannot guarantee that flights departing from these airports fulfil EU aviation security requirements, resulting in a potentially greater risk to the security of persons and cargo.

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/86.

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