EU and US interior ministers agreed on Thursday (21 January) to step up airport screening of passengers, increase onboard security and to improve data sharing after a failed attack last month on a US-bound flight departing from Amsterdam.

Recognising their “shared responsibility” for preventing terrorist attacks on civil flights, ministers pledged to come up by April with concrete proposals on enhancing their security both on the ground and in the air.

US home affairs chief Janet Napolitano said co-operation needed to be strengthened in the area of data collection, analysis and sharing, improvement of aviation standards and deployment of better screening technology.

The EU commission has been mandated to speed up its evaluation of a Europe-wide roll out of body scanners, an issue which is still controversial for several member states and lawmakers concerned with privacy rights.

Justice commissioner Jacques Barrot said a report will be soon published on the effectiveness of this technology, as well as its potential impact on health and its compatibility with individual rights.

Ms Napolitano said the use of scanners “is not the deciding factor nor essential for guaranteeing safety,” although the US considers them as useful. It already has 40 up and running and plans to put 450 more in operation during this year.

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EU and US interior ministers agreed on Thursday (21 January) to step up airport…