Does the EU-US passenger data deal offer enough safeguards for EU citizens? Is the balance between security and data protection adequate? What are the consequences of saying "yes" or "no" to the agreement? These were the main issues raised by MEPs in a Civil Liberties Committee debate with Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on Monday.

“This agreement is not compatible with EU law”, said rapporteur Sophia in’T Veld (ALDE, NL), asking “what kind of precedent do we create if we accept it?”.

The ALDE, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL groups shared her views, while EPP and ECR speakers supported the deal, even though “it is not entirely satisfactory”. The S&D group has yet to state its position.

The Civil Liberties Committee will vote on the passenger data agreement with the US on 26 March. The plenary vote is foreseen for April.

EU Passenger Name Records

Civil Liberties Committee MEPs also discussed proposals to collect and store passengers’ data for international flights arriving in and departing from the EU.

Parliament's rapporteur, Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK), favours including intra-EU flights in the legislation. “I do see a clear necessity and added value for a system which also operates for intra-EU flights”, he said. The debate on the EU Passenger Name Record proposals will continue in the coming weeks.