Transport security

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The terrorist attacks in the USA, Spain and London forced countries all over the world to strengthen their transport security measures but there is not always agreement on how far such measures can go before becoming invasive and over-expensive.

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Overview

After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, aviation security moved up the political agenda. Whereas, before that, each member state had its own rules on air safety, the EU adopted its first common rules in 2002, with detailed provisions on: access to sensitive areas of airports and aircrafts; passenger screening and baggage handling; control of cargo and mail; staff screening and training, and; classification of weapons and other items prohibited on-board planes or in airports. 

The World Trade Center attack also accelerated work on security measures in other areas, such as maritime transport. Fearing that ships could carry weapons of mass destruction or be used as weapons themselves, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) member governments met in December 2002 to establish obligatory security standards for ships and ports. The Commission integrated these standards into a binding Regulation in March 2004. 

9/11 and subsequent attacks in Madrid, London and other cities, have led to closer co-operation between the EU and the US on transport security, but some of the measures proposed have led to transatlantic disagreements. This is particularly the case for Passenger Name Records (files created by airlines for each passenger when a journey is booked, and stored in the airlines' reservation and departure control databases). 

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