What is the EU's Joint Research Centre and how does it help with airport security?

What is the EU's Joint Research Centre and how does it help with airport security?
By Denis Loctier
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Bartel Meersman, head of transport and border security, explains how the European Commission's science and knowledge service works

The TATP spray used by the authorities in several EU countries to train police dogs and inspect electronic detectors has been developed by the researchers at the EU Joint Research Centre in Geel.

But what is the JRC, and what makes it well suited for this kind of tasks?

Bartel Meersman, the head of the Transport and Border Security unit at JRC Geel, explains:

"JRC is a EU Commission science and knowledge service. We’re independent of any national economic, financial interests. We do this in support of the policy, for the policy [Directorates General].

"Our principal customers are police, law enforcement, as well as anybody who has to detect explosives [in] the member states’ civil aviation authorities who inspect the airports, as well as the European Union inspectors whose role is to control the member states.

"The European Union poses quite strict demands on security, in particular for aviation, so we have to adhere to the highest standards.

"Our labs are ISO-17025 certified, so that anybody who would contest our products can be proven that they are the required qualities.

"And the people working here have the correct competence — they all have a PhD in the domain, and they have many years of experience in developing these tools."

Journalist • Denis Loctier

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