European Parliament pressures EC in the EU-US PNR agreement
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A debate took place in the European Parliament (EP) on 7 September regarding
the negotiation of a new interim agreement between EU and US on the issue of
passenger name record (PNR) sharing.
The very criticized agreement adopted in 2004 on EU-US personal data sharing
was annulled by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in May 2006.
The Finnish EU Presidency and the EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini
had been highly criticized by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)
for having had informal meetings on the matter with US negotiators on 18
July 2006 and apparently also on 16 August 2006 without informing the EP.
Frattini pointed out that the issue of concluding an interim agreement by 1
October 2006 was of utmost importance in order to avoid legal complaints
from European citizens against air carriers on the transfer of personal data
to US, applied on the basis of national rules. He said it was important to
“guarantee legal certainty with an agreement at European-level, to ensure a
high level of security and at the same time privacy protection for our
After heated discussions during the meeting on 7 September, the MEPs decided
to back the Commission in the negotiations of the interim accord that will
be valid by the end of November 2007 on condition they are involved in the
negotiations. The MEPs have required from US for more adequate protection
and sufficient safeguards of European passenger data.
Some MEPs emphasized the necessity that the new deal should not allow full
access of the US authorities to the entire passenger database coming from
Europe but provide data only on a case by case basis.
During the Strasbourg meeting, Sophia in ‘t Veld (ALDE, NL), Parliament’s
rapporteur on PNR, underlined the importance of getting a unified European
opinion on the matter in the light of the rumours circulating that the US
might favour bilateral agreements.
Further on, the EP asked for joint decision-making rights with the Council
of Ministers on the negotiations that will take place after November 2007.
It also proposed a dialogue between parliamentarians from the EU, US, Canada
and Australia by the end of this year in order to have a global approach on
the issue of PNR and also to help in the preparation of the 2007 review of
MEPs angry over EU-US air data snub (7.09.2006)
Parliament of EU backs passenger data-sharing (7.09.2006)
EU: Balancing security and data protection for air travel (8.09.2006)
EU fights flight data deal with US (7.09.2006)
Pressure looms over controversial EU-US air data deal (8.09.2006)
EDRI-gram: EU-US agreement on passenger data transfer annulled (7.06.2006)