EU parliament wants a better overview of airline passengers

Controversial bill on exchanging passenger information back on the table

There is a renewed push to give authorities in the 28 EU countries more resources to keep track of who is flying in and out and around Europe. Martin Schulz, the president of the EU parliament, said in a speech yesterday that the debate has begun once again on a controversial bill regarding the exchange of passenger data between countries.

“The EU Parliament has heard your appeal,” said Schultz in his speech. “Parliament pledged yesterday to work towards finalising work on EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) lists before the end of the year.”

Protection against terrorists
Schulz said that the PNR is essential for EU countries to exchange information they need to fight and prevent terrorism. Parliament's civil liberties committee has for two years blocked the adoption of the proposal that the 28 member states have already agreed on.

Increased focus on Europeans traveling to wars in Syria and Iraq, and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, have prompted countries to add to the pressure on parliament.

Law changes required in Denmark
PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt said that Danes must vote next year to change the parts of Danish law that would prevent Denmark from taking part in the PNR.

“I have no doubt that if we can not participate in areas of co-operation, it will damage Denmark's security and will only benefit those who want to do Denmark harm,” Thorning-Schmidt told Politiken.

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Schulz said that he could not guarantee any agreement on the proposal, but he hoped that any planned amendments would reassure MPs afraid that the PNRs would grant authorities wide powers to monitor and store sensitive personal information about citizens.