MEPs reject proposals on the use of passenger data


MEPs have rejected a proposal from the European Commission for an EU-wide agreement on the use of air passenger data for counter-terrorism measures.

Airlines currently collect data - known as Passenger Name Records (PNR) - from passengers during reservation and check-in procedures.

The European Commission has proposed that EU countries should be given the data of passengers leaving or entering the EU for use in investigating crime and terrorism allegations.

But the proposal was rejected by 30 votes to 25 on the Civil Liberties Committee, despite the parliament's lead negotiator - or rapporteur - British Conservative Timothy Kirkhope urging his colleagues on the committee to support the Commission's position.

He criticised the result of the vote, saying that counter-terrorism efforts in the EU "have now been put back by years".

A number of EU countries already have their own rules on PNR, and Mr Kirkhope said that "each country doing their own thing in their own way does not protect anyone in Europe".

But Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie In 't Veld welcomed the rejection saying that it did not mean that the committee was opposed to fighting terrorism.

She insisted that it was wrong for the Commission to bring in laws on PNR before they finalise a new EU-wide directive on data protection, which is currently being negotiated.

Mr Kirkhope said he now wanted a speedy plenary vote, saying the PNR proposals may face "a more objective approach".

But the committee chair, Juan Lopez Aguilar said he would put the matter to the conference of presidents - made up of the leaders of the political groups - to decide how to proceed.

Democracy Live provides highlights of the committee, the full session can be viewed here.

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