11 Nov 2016
European Commission Proposes the Introduction of an EU Certification System for Airport Security Equipment
The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a new Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a single EU certification system for aviation security screening equipment. Aviation security screening equipment is the equipment used for the screening of persons (passengers and airport staff), cabin baggage, hold baggage, supplies, air cargo and mail. The aim is to establish a single EU certification system based on EU type-approval and the issuance of certificates of conformity by the manufacturers, which means that manufacturers would have to demonstrate compliance of their equipment with the applicable requirements, with the help of accredited testing laboratories.
The current EU legislation, Regulation 300/2008, which establishes the technical specifications and performance requirements for aviation security screening equipment at EU airports, does not provide for a legally binding EU-wide conformity assessment scheme. Therefore, in principle, equipment that has been certified in one EU Member State, according to national certification procedures, can only be put on the market in that Member State. Any other EU Member State has the choice to either recognise this certification or to require that the equipment is tested again to verify whether it meets the requirements of the EU legislation, or even to impede its use in its territory. The introduction of a legally binding EU-wide conformity assessment scheme would therefore ensure that the required technical standards and performance requirements for products to be placed on the market would be met in all Member States.
Since the current Regulation 300/2008 and its implementing acts, such as Commission Regulation 185/2010, already provide for detailed performance requirements and testing methods for aviation security screening equipment, the Commission's proposal for a single EU certification system does not add further technical requirements. The aim is rather to establish a single EU certification system based on EU type-approval with manufacturers issuing certificates of conformity. The proposal stipulates that compliance with the existing performance requirements has to be demonstrated by accredited testing laboratories applying a common testing methodology. If the testing is successful, the manufacturers of the equipment will issue a certificate of conformity for their equipment, which will be valid in all EU Member States, based on the principle of mutual recognition.
The certification system envisaged by the Commission’s proposal builds on the Common Evaluation Process (CEP), elaborated within the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) to assess the conformity of aviation security screening equipment with the existing performance requirements established at the EU level.
According to the Commission, its proposal for a single EU certification system will ensure that the security screening equipment at all EU airports will meet the required standards of EU legislation and therefore increase security at EU airports. At the same time, the proposal is also deemed to help improve the competitiveness of the European security industry. The Commission has reported that the supply of security screening equipment for the aviation sector represents a significant market, with an annual world-wide turnover of € 14 billion, of which € 4.2 billion is achieved in the EU.
This proposal is said to be one of several initiatives taken by the Commission in the framework of the European Agenda on Security adopted in April 2015, setting out the main actions to ensure an effective EU response to terrorism and security threats in the European Union over the period 2015-2020.
Hong Kong’s business-to-business electrical goods suppliers should take note that the European Agenda on Security emphasises the need for a competitive EU security industry, while encouraging the development of innovative security solutions, such as minimum standards and common certificates, in particular for alarm systems and airport screening equipment. It does so with a view to facilitating the supply of this equipment across the EU and to improve the competitiveness of the EU security industry in export markets.