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U.S., EU Issue Joint Declaration On Aviation Security

December 25th Incident Shows The Responsibility For Preventing Terrorism Should Be Shared

The Ministers of the Member States of the European Union, together with the Vice President of the European Commission and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America, meeting informally last week in Toledo, (Spain), discussed current terrorists threats, in particular the attempted attack on an aircraft approaching Detroit on 25th December 2009. They also talked about ways to strengthen international security measures and standards for aviation security, and an upcoming global dialogue on securing international travel.

Following the meeting, the Ministers of the Schengen Associated Countries and the Candidates Countries present released the following statement.

"The rights threatened by terrorism, such as life, liberty and security of person, are among the most cherished human rights. The preservation of those rights is a fundamental task and a shared responsibility. Likewise, international air transportation is a global resource on which we all rely. When someone threatens one part of the system, they can cause harm throughout it.

The European Union and the United States of America share the responsibility to prevent terrorists and serious criminals from conducting, planning, and supporting operations with the intention to cause harm to our populations including by exploiting civil aviation, while upholding the rule of law and observing and promoting respect for international law, including international human rights law.

The last attempted attack on 25th December by an individual who flew from Africa to the United States via Europe highlights the international nature of this threat. An international threat demands an international response."

The meeting produced a list of objectives that the participants agreed should be jointly pursued:

  • To identify individuals who pose a risk to our security as early as possible by bolstering the security of and our confidence in travel documents, the use of biometrics, and passenger screening, so we can prevent such individuals from travelling and posing a threat.
  • To identify the illicit materials that such people may be carrying, sending via cargo, or transporting, including through enhanced technologies, to prevent the entry of such materials onto aircraft.
  • To work with other partners worldwide to implement necessary changes to their aviation security regimes, including by enhancing aviation security capacity.
  • To continue to work together and with other international partners, including at the ministerial level, toward greater international travel security.

Another "high-level" meeting is planned April 10th to discuss specific areas in aviation security, information sharing, research, and international cooperation.

FMI: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal, www.dhs.gov


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