What is the EU doing to improve security and safety of transport in the EU?
Safety and security are of primary concern for any transport system. Travellers expect transportation to be safe. One of the roles of the European Commission is to respond to these expectations by ensuring that there are satisfactory standards in the whole EU for safety and security in all modes of transport.
Transport safety in the EU
Creating an environment for safe transport is essential for European citizens. The Commission strives to provide the highest standards of safety worldwide.
Our safety agencies deal with the different transport modes – EASA, ERA and EMSA, which are responsible for the aviation, rail and maritime sectors respectively – and all contribute to advances in safety.
Aviation is one of the safest and fastest growing forms of transport. The EU air safety policy ensures a high level of safety for passengers, promoting rules that are cost efficient and facilitate the free movement of products, services and persons involved in civil aviation.
Given the unprecedented growth in air traffic and large number of carriers resulting from the successful implementation of the single aviation market, the EU has prioritised work on effective aviation safety standards. These are the basis for a list of airlines banned from EU skies which is constantly updated.
Road transport is the most widely used means of travel and a primary cause of accidents. The Commission has been very active in promoting rules, technical standards, and awareness campaigns to decrease the number of fatalities caused by road accidents. We invite you to check the Road Safety website for further information.
In maritime transport, safety of both passenger and merchant ships is of paramount importance. The Commission has progressively developed safety policies in response to several major shipping accidents since the 1990s.
Europe’s railways are among the safest in the world. EU policies aim to maintain high standards and align safety requirements EU-wide. This is essential if we are to achieve a Single European Railway Area.
Transport security in the EU
Transport security is a sensitive issue that affects all transport users and transport providers. It is a basic right to be able to travel without fear of being a victim of some form of attack. Yet, it is also important that security is not so intrusive as to make travel an unpleasant experience.
Transport security can cover everything from terrorist attacks to prevention of vandalism and graffiti. The Commission's role is to look at measures which, at the EU level, can add value in improving security.
Acts of terrorism are, thankfully, rare events but it must be recognised that transport is a popular target for such actions. As rare as such an event might be, the risk remains, and exposes the vulnerabilities of the entire transport supply chain. Other forms of security threats to transport are more common: crimes committed on the premises of transport operators (like a break-in), stowaways, robbery of valuable cargo in transit, or piracy on the high seas. These have a massive economic cost which can be measured in terms ranging from the cash value of cargo thefts to insurance losses, business interruption and damage to property.
As transport is international in nature it is important to ensure a coordinated EU approach to security standards being developed at ICAO (for aviation security) and IMO (for maritime security). This is complemented by cooperation with third countries on transport security The Commission consolidates and strengthens security by working together with major international partners, exchanging experiences and best practices.
New technologies can assist in developing smooth high-security systems for the future by reducing the duration and intensity of security checks.
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