EU Justice ministers agree on new PNR rules

4 December 2015
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EU Interior and Justice ministers approved on Friday a compromise text agreed with the European Parliament on the proposal for a directive on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crimes.

The last objections expressed by MEPs concerned the amount of time this data will be kept, taking into account the aspect of protection of personal data.

“The compromise agreed today will enable the EU to set up an effective PNR system which fully respects fundamental rights and freedoms”, said Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Security and President of the Council. “In a constructive spirit, member-states consented to keep the retention period of the data to six months,” he added.

Under the new rules, air carriers will be obliged to provide member states’ authorities with the PNR data for flights entering or departing from the EU. It will also allow, but not oblige, member states to collect PNR data concerning selected intra-EU flights. Each member state will be required to set up a so-called Passenger Information Unit, which will receive the PNR data from the air carriers.

Oh his side, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos spoke of an agreement that maintains a balance between “security for citizens” and respecting their rights”.

“We have the commitment of all member states that intra-European flights and charter flights will be included” in the scope of the directive, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve noted.

The 28 ministers also approved a European Commission proposal to set up a special anti-terrorism center in Europol which will provide important expertise and guidance to prosecuting authorities of the member states.

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