Press: UK wants EU to boost air security

The U.K. is urging the European Union to upgrade its standards for airline security amid renewed intelligence warnings about the threat of terrorists smuggling liquid explosives onto airplanes, the Financial Times reported on its Web site Thursday. “We are hoping for a forum that will take us to a common position on airline security across Europe, and not for a talking shop,” a U.K. official said Thursday.

E.U. transportation security officials will meet in Brussels next Wednesday to discuss U.K. proposals for restrictions on hand luggage, increased passenger screening and an E.U.-wide investment plan for updating the technology used in detecting explosives, the FT reported.

The U.K. thwarted an alleged plot to blow up several planes two weeks ago. Even so, U.K. Department of Transport security officials said Thursday that the plot had exposed gaps in their equipment’s ability to distinguish ordinary liquids from those that could be used in a bomb.

“We cannot disinvent the threat of liquid explosives so we cannot go back to the security regime that existed prior to Aug. 10,” a security official said.

A spokesman for E.U. Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said the E.U.‘s aviation security committee would review the interim measures taken by the U.K. and other countries following the Aug. 10 bomb plot, and discuss the need for a more harmonized approach, the FT reported.

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“We are looking at different options and one of the options is to ensure a better harmonized approach to extra security measures,” Barrot’s spokesman said, adding that expanding the list of banned items on planes “is one the things the Commission wants to discuss.”
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