The European Commission, under the coordination of DG MOVE, launched the Land Transport Security Expert Group. The meeting was held in Brussels on 30 January 2013, bringing together Member State authorities (morning session) and transport sector stakeholders in a joint afternoon session.
The meeting was chaired by Mrs Marjeta Jager (Director, Directorate General Mobility and Transport), who opened the joint session explaining the importance of such event. Good EU wide baseline levels of security are relevant to all member states, especially with the current free movement of persons and cargo.
The coordination between Member State authorities and transport sector stakeholders is essential to further prevent, manage and mitigate the risk of criminality. That is why the European Commission will work together with this Land Transport Security Expert Group to create such capacity.
In his speech, Mr Jacques Colliard (Head of UIC Security Division) congratulated the European Commission on taking concrete actions to consider what can be done at EU level to improve transport security, particularly in areas where putting in place common security requirements would succeed in making Europe’s transport system more resilient to acts of unlawful interference.
Considering that land transport (in particular rail) security should be developed at national level or local level under the principle of subsidiary, an increasingly large proportion of transport operations is between member states (cross borders), and it is becoming clear that there is an added value to some actions being taken at EU level.
Commission’s stand point
The European Commission, together with the member states, considered what the focus of European activity on Transport Security should be. It clearly demonstrated that there is no intention to bring forward any legislative requirements but it suggested that there are areas for consideration, some of which could lead to recommendations for minimum requirements at a later stage.
In the current context there are already EU security requirements in the aviation and maritime sectors, where risks routinely cross borders. Therefore the work of the Land Transport Security Expert Group will largely concentrate on the land transport sector, which is the least regulated mode within European jurisdiction, and where the European Commission feels that there is a need to do more to improve security.
In a clear vision the European Commission considers that Land Transport security, due to its broad and complex nature covers not only public transport but also supply chain movements across several modes. Therefore and within the scope of the Trans European Network Transport (TEN-T), specific areas can be further observed towards the development of minimum security requirements (mainly on the cross border operations).
In that respect, it was understandable that an EU “Horizon 2020” Framework for Research and Innovation including specific policy-based transport security research will help to colligate the member states and transport sector needs regarding the specific cross border issues. This first step could lead to a more coherent and coordinated approach, also considering all the other initiatives in particular in the rail transport (e.g. the 4th Railway Package).
At that point UIC observed that member states and the land transport sector in general agree with the Commission that it is important for passengers and cargo to benefit from appropriate levels of protection in land transport. In that respect minimum security requirements for land transport can create a level playing field for all those operating in the Transport European Network.
This meeting did not result in any legislative proposals as such giving rise to immediate issues concerning the principle of subsidiary. However, if initiatives lead to legislative proposals, subsidiary issues can arise. While the Commission is developing its proposals, member states and the land transport sector must try to ensure that proper evidence is provided to show that action at EU level is appropriate.
Mrs Marjeta Jager explained that the European Commission, with the support of the Land Transport Security Expert Group, will develop a working programme that can reflect the emerging transport security issues, prioritising actions on the most relevant. The land transport stakeholders are still able to submit their views and priorities to the European Commission until mid March. These will be taken into consideration in the development of the working programme to be announced by April 2013.