The European Commission is taking Germany to court over security lapses at some of its airports. The case is not related to a separate investigation prompted by the crash of a Germanwings flight in March.
The EU referred Germany to court for failing to regularly monitor security measures at some airports. According to the European Commission, Germany has failed to act on repeated requests to comply with EU law on airport security and the case will now go to the European Court of Justice.
"Inspections by the Commission have shown that Germany does not comply with the minimum frequency and the scope of controls required under EU legislation," the body announced. "Such controls are necessary to quickly detect and correct potential failures in the implementation of security measures and to make sure that airports, airlines and other entities are in line with common EU standards." The referral "does by no means imply that German airports did not take adequate security measures" - just that that authorities have sometimes failed to carry out the prescribed security controls.
The Commission didn't specify airports. Last year, media reported that undercover investigators had managed to carry weapons or other dangerous items through passenger controls at airports including Frankfurt, Germany's busiest. Security staff have regularly gone on strike, citing poor working conditions.
The news comes just days after US fighter jets had scrambled to intercept an Air France flight after receiving a hoax bomb threat.
'Arms or explosives'
Airports which forego tests can't identify and correct potential threats, Commission spokesman Jakub Adamowicz said. The Commission warned the 28-nation EU's biggest economy about the problem at the end of 2014, and the country could face a fine if found in breach by the court.
"Security measures are in place to help prevent criminal acts and in particular are expected to protect airports and planes against terrorist attacks with arms or explosives," the Commission wrote in Thursday's statement.
In an unrelated incident, investigators have accused a co-pilot of crashing a Germanwings plane into the French Alps, killing himself and 149 others on board. Authorities have launched an investigation to evaluate German procedures regarding the medical monitoring of pilots after it emerged that Andreas Lubitz had experienced episodes of severe depression.
"Today's referral has nothing to do with the ongoing evaluation of responses we received from German authorities on medical certificates of pilots," Adamowicz told reporters on Thursday.
In a separate decision on Thursday, the Commission also referred Germany to court for failing to bring its laws on the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment in line with EU standards, proposing a daily fine of 210,078 euros ($228,865) until the country does so.
mkg/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa)