Sunday

24th Jun 2018

EU flight data bill set for possible overhaul

  • In limbo: PNR was blocked by MEPs (Photo: *tamara*)

The European Commission is willing to rework a stalled EU airline data sharing bill that has infuriated MEPs and frustrated member states for the past three years.

“We will review our proposal to see if we can accommodate issues that have a role in both parliament and council,” EC vice-president Frans Timmermans told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (21 January).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

First proposed in 2011, the EU passenger name record (EU PNR) directive ran into a blockade of opposition from euro-deputies in the parliament’s civil liberties committee where it has been stuck ever since.

The bill requires airlines in the EU to hand over the personal details of their customers to the police where it can be kept for up to five years.

The socialist, Liberal, and Green political groups are demanding better rights safeguards amid concerns the proposal allows targeting of people not convicted of any crime.

Others are worried that the EU PNR may end up in a legislative scrap pile after the European Court of Justice annulled the EU data retention directive last year on issues similar to those raised by the MEPs.

The court invalidated the data retention directive because it violated privacy rights and was disproportionate.

One of the bill’s biggest critics, German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, said any new PNR proposal must take into account the Luxembourg-court data retention ruling.

“Home affairs ministers have to understand they cannot simply shove the old PNR proposal down the Parliament's throat,” he said in a statement.

The commission and member states want the bill passed with EU leaders last August urging the assembly to have it signed by the end of the 2014.

But MEPs have resisted despite intense pressure following the Brussels Jewish museum shooting last year and the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris earlier this month.

Advocates argue PNR is needed to better identify and track EU nationals returning home after fighting alongside Islamic militants in Iraq or Syria.

The directive would create a EU-wide legal basis for the data sharing for all 28 member states.

Around 15 countries are already putting in place their own national PNR systems, co-financed by the commission, annoying some MEPs who say it is pre-empting the legislative process.

Italy’s interior minister Angelino Alfano, in a letter addressed to EU council president Tusk in December, said several member states are considering interconnecting existing and future systems regardless of any EU law.

Timmermans, for his part, is now in listening mode and is sending EU commissioner for home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos to the parliament “to take into account what changes they would like.”

Avramopoulos is set to meet the civil liberties committee on 27 January, two days before an informal justice and home affairs ministerial in Riga.

Investigation

UK unlawfully copying data from EU police system

The British government is abusing EU travel security systems, making and using illegal copies of outdated information, and putting innocent people at risk of being red-flagged.

GDPR - a global 'gold standard'?

The new EU privacy rules are touted as a global 'gold standard' - but Mexico's former data commissioner warns some nations are far from ready.

New GDPR enforcer says complaints imminent

The European Data Protection Board is a new EU body tasked with enforcing the EU's privacy laws with powers to impose massive fines. Its head Andrea Jelinek told reporters complaints against companies are expected to be immediate.

Feature

EU and Turkey fight for 'lost generation'

Some 300,000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey are not enrolled in classes. Fears they may end up in sweatshops or forced to beg have triggered efforts by the EU, Unicef, and the Turkish government to keep them in school.

News in Brief

  1. Venice Commission: Hungary should repeal NGO law
  2. Trump threatens to slap 20 percent tariff on EU cars
  3. EU closes deficit procedure against France
  4. Romania's ruling party leader gets jail sentence
  5. EU states defer individual decisions on asylum reforms
  6. Commission opens case on Qatar gas flow
  7. EU adopts posted workers directive
  8. EU leaders to call for 'coordinated plan' on AI

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  2. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  3. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China
  4. Merkel and Juncker's mini-summit risks fiasco
  5. Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'
  6. How a US firm pushed for EU €2.1trn pension fund
  7. Commission defends Africa migrant plan ahead of summit
  8. Bavaria hijacks EU migration talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us