Brussels, 14 March 2011
The European Commission today requested Cyprus to adopt the updated version of their national civil aviation security programme which has remained unchanged since 2004 despite new changes introduced by European Union legislation. The Commission is concerned that Cyprus has not yet adopted an up-to-date national civil aviation security programme that adequately defines the measures required by airports, airlines and other entities involved in aviation security. Cyprus has also failed to adopt an up-to-date national quality control programme. Cyprus can therefore not guarantee that all airports, airlines and entities are aware of their respective responsibilities in terms of security nor ensure that effective national monitoring activities are carried out. If the Cypriot authorities fail to comply with EU law within the next two months, the Commission could bring the case to the EU Court of Justice.
The EU rules
European legislation on civil aviation security (Regulation 300/2008) sets common basic standards on aviation security for all EU airports not exclusively used for military purposes. Their aim is to protect people and goods from illegal acts jeopardising security at airports and during flights. The legislation establishes, among other things, rules on access control at airports, screening of passengers and baggage and security controls for cargo and mail. Member States are responsible for ensuring the correct application of these standards. In order to do so they are required to draw up and maintain a national civil aviation security programme describing the measures required by airports, airlines and other entities involved in aviation security. Member States also have to develop a national quality control programme to check the quality of civil aviation security in the country.
How is Cyprus not respecting these rules?
The national civil aviation security programme of Cyprus which also includes the national quality control programme has not been updated since its establishment in 2004 and does therefore not reflect the significant changes introduced into EU legislation since that time. Although the Cypriot authorities informed the Commission that a new programme is under preparation, it was not yet formally adopted and is consequently not applied.
The practical effect of non-implementation
Under the present circumstances, Cyprus cannot guarantee that all airports, airlines and entities are aware of their respective responsibilities in terms of security nor ensure that effective national monitoring activities are carried out.
The next step
Cyprus has two months to respond to the Commission. If it fails to do so, the Commission may bring the case to the EU Court of Justice.
For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/162