Passenger Name Records: rapporteur says we can find a way forward



Reports of a new proposal for an EU Passenger Name Records (PNR) system have been dismissed by the European Commission, whilst the European Parliament's lead MEP on the existing EU-PNR proposals has today called on other MEPs to cooperate with him to reach agreement.


European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, speaking in a terrorism debate in the European Parliament today, said that reports in the Guardian that the commission is working on a new PNR proposal were incorrect.


The European Parliament's civil liberties committee had rejected a proposal for an EU-PNR system in 2013 but the full parliament asked the committee to go back and look again at reaching agreement.  


The parliament's lead MEP on the report - the rapporteur - Timothy Kirkhope MEP today asked other MEPs to work with him to find a way forward on the existing proposal, that will put in place a strong framework for data protection whilst closing the gaps in the EU's fight against serious crime and terrorism.


Mr Kirkhope, European Conservatives and Reformists Group home affairs spokesman said in today's debate:


"PNR is an important piece of the jigsaw in the EU’s coordinated approach in fighting serious crime and terrorism.


"The EU's Data Protection Supervisor has said we do not have to wait for a new data retention Directive or data protection package but I intend to apply the highest data protection standards and the judgement of the ECJ to this EU-PNR Directive.


"According to the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator, the use of PNR data significantly reduces ethnic profiling and Europol says that there are over 3, 000 EU foreign fighters radicalised, military trained, returning to the EU, and exploiting the gaps and deficiencies in our law enforcement information exchange across the EU which this Directive would help address.


"At present there is no EU legal framework for citizens or the airlines, with no clear legal or administrative redress in the use of their data. An EU-PNR Directive would provide these rights and legal boundaries.


"I appeal to political groups and to MEPs to work with me, cooperate with me, so that we can find a solution which both protects lives and protects civil liberties."