Why is an EU Agency needed to look after aviation safety?
The Basic Regulation establishes common requirements for the regulation of safety and environmental sustainability in civil aviation. It gives the European Commission powers to adopt detailed rules for the Regulation's implementation.
The Agency answers the Regulation's need for 'a single specialised expert body', which delivers appropriate expertise to EU institutions to prepare these rules and verify their implementation at national level. Thus the Agency acts as an enabler to the legislative and executive process, a body which 'is independent in relation to technical matters and has legal, administrative and financial autonomy.'
There were further reasons behind the creation of a Community Agency. Past experience has suggested that common rules do not ensure uniform implementation in domains where technical discretion must be given to the certificating entities. In such cases the centralisation of certification tasks is the only effective way to achieve the desired uniform level of protection. This option was strongly supported by all interested parties. It also ensures that safety-related measures remain free of any political interference which might prejudice the current high standard of civil aviation safety enjoyed in Europe.
The Agency has been designed in order to ensure a degree of separation between the political process (the role played by the European Commission, Council and Parliament in drafting and enacting legislation relating to aviation safety) on the one hand, and the design and implementation of the technical measures necessary for safety, on the other. This explains why the Executive Director is granted independence in decision-making relating to the safety issues under the Agency's responsibility. This, however, is without prejudice to the chain of accountability to which the Agency and its Executive Director are subject.