The PNR scheme entirely changed by the European Council
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The European Council has started re-writing from scratch the European
Commission’s proposal for an EU-PNR scheme as a result of several EU
governments’ intention to go further in this matter.
Some European governments, with the UK in the lead, want to extend the PNR
scheme used now under the US-EU agreement to all types of travel (air, land
and sea), not only in and out the EU borders but between EU countries and
even within each country. They also want the data and information gathered
to be used not just for entry-exit, but also for any law enforcement
The declared purpose of collecting the data is “the prevention, detection,
investigation, prosecution and punishment of terrorism and a group of other
serious offences, defined by reference to the list in the Framework Decision
on the European Arrest Warrant.” However, there is an additional statement
which gives more freedom to control: “The instrument would of course cover
the reporting and prosecution of other offences brought to light during
controls.” While the PIUs (Passenger Information Units) collect the data
from airlines and assess the passengers, “competent national authorities”
(i.e. police, security agencies) would be allowed to use the data for other
purposes than for assessing security risks for flights.
The list of data to be collected practically covers the same 19 sets of data
under the US-EU PNR agreement. Also, there will be two transmissions of the
data, one 48 hours before the flight take off and one when the flight is all
The procedure for analysing the “terrorist or criminal threat” will include
a first analysis “based on risk indicators” (such as source country or
destination) “pre-established by the competent (national) authorities” and a
second one based on “national, international and European files”. However,
the issue here is that the 27 EU countries have watch lists which are
extremely different. Hence, the proposal suggests the necessity of
developing “common methods and indicators”.
As some of the State Members do not wish to extend the scheme to flights
inside the EU space, the text proposes that the choice of individual states
to take the measure at the national level should be “explicitly recognised”.
This means that actually the PNR will be collected by all Member States on
all flights in and out of the EU and if a Member State wants to survey
intra-community flights as well, it can very well do it.
EU-PNR scheme being re-written by the Council (4.10.2008)
EDRIgram – Dispute between UK government and EU over the use of PNR
Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)