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Europe court rules airplane prohibited items list must be published

[JURIST] The European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website] ruled Tuesday that an unpublished list of items prohibited from airplanes does not have any binding effect on individuals [decision; press release, PDF] unless it is made public. The list is set out in an annex to Regulation 622/2003 [text, PDF], but under Article 3 of that regulation is made available only to "persons duly authorised [sic] by a Member State or the Commission." The court found that because the regulation imposes obligations on individuals, Article 254 [text] of the Treaty Establishing the European Community requires that it be published in the Official Journal of the European Union before it takes effect. The court also found that a list prohibiting carry-on items was not within the scope of Article 8 of Regulation 2320/2002 [text, PDF], which outlines the confidentiality of civil aviation security procedures. The case was brought by an Austrian who was thrown off of a plane in Vienna after refusing to surrender his tennis racquets.

The EU passed Regulation 2320/2002 outlining EU-wide security requirements in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks [JURIST news archive]. These general security procedures have been modified to reflect emerging concerns, including a 2004 amendment to the secret prohibited items list. Despite privacy concerns, Europe has been moving closer to implementing a passenger data-sharing system [JURIST report], announced as part of a package of anti-terrorism measures [JURIST report] by EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini [official profile] in November 2007. In July, the EU and US reached a new agreement on passenger data-sharing [JURIST report] under which air carriers will transmit passenger data directly to the US Department of Homeland Security within 15 minutes of a European flight's departure for the US.

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