PNR: collecting data on international passengers  

 
 

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Automated passport control kiosks at an international airport terminal ©BELGA/Getty Images/AFP/S.Olson 

Acts of terror in Europe have put security issues back at the top of the political agenda. Security specialists and the member states have called for EU-wide rules on Passenger Name Record (PNR) for years. This measure, which would require a more systematic collection, use and retention of data on international airline passengers, was approved by Parliament on 14 April 2016

Plans to first implement rules on the use of PNR at an EU level were rejected in 2013 as MEPs had concerns about the necessity and scope of the proposal and its compliance with fundamental rights.


However, the threats facing Europe has made the fight against terrorism a priority and national governments reiterated the need for European legislation on passenger name records.


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The civil liberties committee discussed a new draft text on PNR written by Timothy Kirkhope, a UK member of the ECR group, on 26 February 2015. On 15 July 2015 the committee adopted the revised text. MEPs inserted safeguards to ensure the lawfulness of any use of the data, saying they should only be used to tackle terrorism and serious international crime.


Negotiations started in September 2015. Parliament and the Council reached a provisional deal on 4 December 2015, which was then backed by the civil liberties committee on 10 December 2015 and by a majority of MEPs during a plenary session on 14 April. The text was approved by 461 votes to 179, with nine absentions.


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