Union calls for EU air traffic authority

2010-11-04 18:31

Berlin – Air traffic security for the European Union should be handled by a central institution that oversees national authorities, the head of Germany's police union, Rainer Wendt, was quoted as saying on Thursday.

In an interview with German daily Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, Wendt said the discovery of parcel bombs around Europe over the past few days showed it was time to put a stop to the "dangerous patchwork" of air traffic policing in the bloc.

"We need to take a bold step to professionalise the oversight of air traffic across Europe," he said. "Significantly tougher, uniform standards must be applied for imports and exports, which an EU authority can set and oversee most effectively."

Over the past week, parcel bombs were sent from Yemen to US targets, and by militants in Greece to embassies and EU governments, including Chancellor Angela Merkel's office.

Officials in Berlin said on Tuesday Germany wants the EU to introduce new security measures against terror attacks on air freight to help tighten global rules.

"The experts in the new authority should in future carry out regular random checks, especially in countries outside Europe to see whether EU standards are being maintained by freight firms and airports," Wendt told the newspaper.

"The biggest problem(s) for air security are flights and air freight coming from countries outside the EU," he added.

Within the EU, checks should be carried out by national security authorities under the aegis of the EU watchdog, he said.

"In Germany, federal police must assume control of supervision," said Wendt.