European Parliament agrees to reach Passenger Name Records agreement this year

11-Feb-2015 @ 15:30

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Amjad Bashir Amjad Bashir

Amjad Bashir Amjad Bashir

In a wide-ranging resolution on the EU’s response to the terror threat, a majority in the European Parliament has determined to reach an agreement on Timothy Kirkhope’s report on EU Passenger Name Records (PNR) before the end of the year.

Mr Kirkhope said the majority support for reaching a consensus on the proposal was a positive sign, and that he will work with other political groups in an effort to find an agreement that will satisfy the concerns of those groups who rejected the report in 2013.

The vote precedes a discussion about the way forward on EU PNR at tomorrow’s informal meeting of EU leaders and the presentation of a modified Kirkhope report on PNR on February 26th.
A PNR agreement will allow the collection of basic passenger information on air travellers. It is used to establish patterns of behaviour that can give a clear indication of suspect behaviour, that have proven effective in the detection of terrorism and serious criminality such as drug and people trafficking.

15 EU governments are moving ahead with their own PNR collection systems but Mr Kirkhope’s report would close the gaps in the net at the European level, and importantly put in place common standards for protecting people’s data. It would ensure that only highly trained officials can access the data, with strict rules to ensure anonymity and deletion once the data ceases to be useful.
Today’s resolution, which was co-signed by the eurorealist European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the parliament, addresses a number of areas such as radicalisation and an EU Internal Security Strategy.

Timothy Kirkhope, Conservative justice and home affairs spokesman, said:

“This is the most positive statement the European Parliament has given on PNR in several years. It forms part of a much wider resolution that we have managed to negotiate across most groups in the parliament

“I will present a revised report on PNR at the end of February and I trust that progress will then be swift to reach agreement well before the end of this year. We need this agreement to close the gaps in our intelligence armour and to ensure that this data is only collected with strict data safeguards.

“I have become very concerned about the way some Group leaders are behaving around the PNR report and I am not prepared to let it become a political football. This report will be presented to the parliament’s committee later this month and I will work pragmatically with the committee to reach a meaningful and well balanced agreement. We have a committee system in the European Parliament, and I intend to go through the proper processes and respect the committee, not engage in backroom deals between two or three political group leaders.”

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