Aviation Security and EU US Relations

Aviation Security and EU US Relations


D Stasinopoulos, former EU official, BE


Are existing arrangements under the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) capable of dealing with the global challenge of aviation security and contribute in multilaterising their bilateral US/EU cooperation to achieve global consensus?


The most pressing aviation security challenge for US-EU relations is to promote a global consensus by contributing to the development of a comprehensive regime which takes into account US and EU's concerns as well as third countries requirements. I will examine how the EU and the US could structure their relations within the NTA process to multilateralise US-EU agreement on data transfer and achieve global consensus at ICAO. In fact, security standards on which the EU and the US are in accordance are more likely to become accepted by other countries, thus becoming de facto international standards.

My proposal will address these questions since the prevailing feeling among specialists in EU-US relations is that despite efforts aviation security is developing into another issue of conflict in EU-US relations. Initial research carried out during my fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh (August-September 2002) points to the need for a global agreement. I will identify the potential for improved co-operation to help policy convergence at the multilateral level.

Particular attention will be given to the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) process with a view to improved co-ordination and possible global policy convergence .I will assess the main elements of the process which conditions policy making in US-EU relations. The analysis will focus on how a variety of state and non-state actors participating in the NTA process, interact to shape policy outcomes in transport security. Finally an important part of the proposal is to raise a number of important questions regarding the role of existing rules and procedures at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in facilitating global consensus.

Since Sept 11 transport security has been pushed to the top of EU and US agendas. These events have changed forever the way that security is approached in the transport sector. Transport authorities and service providers in the US and the EU are having to adjust traditional security measures to manage and effectively respond to the new security risks. Cooperation in air transport is well established and has been significantly strengthened at the bilateral level.

Transatlantic relations in transportation security are embedded in a dense network of multilateral links, including annual meetings of the Group of Eight (G8), semi-annual meetings among top officials and shared partnership in international organizations dealing with aviation security. The Partnership is supplemented by transatlantic dialogue.

It should be noted that the current structure of the transatlantic dialogue is defined by the New Transatlantic Agenda of 1995 (NTA) which upgraded our partnership, from one of consultation to joint cooperation in fields such as promoting peace and development around the world, responding to global challenges and world trade. Using this structure the two sides have been able to meet at three levels
i. the intergovernmental level, where Heads of states negotiate on behalf of the US and the EU
ii. the transgovernmental level where government officials attempt to harmonize policies on specific issues
iii. the transnational level where the non-state actors coordinate efforts to advance their interests.

My objective will be to assess the organizational, three level structure of the NTA process in terms of effectiveness (capacity to produce a desired effect) and efficiency (amount of resources required to deliver an effect) The implementation of the NTA and the accompanying joint EU-US Action Plan, has led to the development of further instruments designed to promote bilateral cooperation. At the May 1998 London EU Summit, the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP) was launched. Three years later, the Commission adopted a Communication on transatlantic relations which examined of achieving a more focused and results oriented cooperation. This was taken up by the Gothenburg 2001 Summit where they identified priority issues, inter alia, responding to global challenges and cooperation against global terrorism. The priority areas included transport security.

The process has brought greater structure to EU-US relations and provided the framework for handling important issues in the aftermath of Sept 11.The process is Summit driven and therefore dominated by the intergovernmental structures. Important issues such as the 2003 Agreement on data transfer will be analyzed with a view to shedding some light on the strengths and shortcomings of the NTA process.

I will finally examine the international institutional environment within which the US and EU cooperate in addressing aviation security. The role played by the EU and US at ICAO will be examined with a view to transforming their bilateral cooperation into a global/multilateral consensus.


Association for European Transport