EU, US Officials Meet to Discuss Possible Carry-on Laptop Ban


By  Chinedu Eze with agency report

The fear that allowing carry-on-laptop on aircraft cabins has been reinforced by investigations that confirmed it a plausible threat to flight safety and concerned EU and US authorities are looking at further ban of electronics onboard flights.

This was confirmed by The Washington Post, which has reported that Senior US homeland security officials briefed European officials last Wednesday about an “evolving aviation security threat” that might prompt an expansion of a ban on carry-on laptops and electronic devices on U.S.-bound flights, after President Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence to Russia about a ­laptop-related terrorism plot.

The meeting in Brussels — a portion of which occurred in a classified setting — came after European officials were surprised a fortnight ago by media reports of a potentially expanded ban, as Europeans were worried that it would possibly disrupt travel with little security payoff.

The Department of Homeland Security has said it has not yet made a decision.

The medium reported that the classified briefing underlined the awkward situation US allies have been put in by Trump’s decision last week to share sensitive information during an Oval Office visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. That put Russia — a U.S. adversary — in the position of knowing more about sensitive security intelligence than Washington’s closest counterterrorism partners.

Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke conferred last Wednesday with Dimitris Avramopoulos and Violeta Bulc, the top EU officials in charge of migration and transportation.

“At the meeting, both sides exchanged information on the serious evolving threats to aviation security and approaches to confronting such threats,” the European Commission and the Department of Homeland Security said in a joint statement after the meeting.

European officials have complained about being in the dark.

“Any threats that affect the US are the same for Europe. So information should be shared. We explained that. And our response should be one in common,” European Commission spokesman Enrico Brivio said before the meeting, voicing European concerns that the United States was about to take unilateral action without explaining the threat to its partners.

The US delegation appears to have started those explanations Wednesday — a week after Trump shared related information with the Kremlin. Another meeting will be held in Washington next week.

“We did provide certain European partners specific insight into the specific and current and I would say evolving aviation security threat around the electronic restrictions,” a senior US official said, briefing reporters after the meeting on the condition of anonymity.