EU initiatives

This section of the Observatory brings together news, analysis and documentation on the EU's two key travel surveillance measures: the 2016 Passenger Name Record Directive and the 2004 Advance Passenger Information Directive.

The European Commission initially put forward a proposal for an EU Passenger Name Record system in 2007, but it was withdrawn following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. A new proposal (in the form of a Directive, rather than a Council Framework Decision) was issued in 2011. This went back and forth between the Council and Parliament until its final, controversial adoption in April 2016, when the Parliament caved in to pressure from the Council and Commission.

The EU PNR Directive can be found here and national implementing legislation here.

The API Directive can be found here and national implementing legislation here.

21 June 2022

CJEU judgment on the Passenger Name Record Directive

The Court of Justice appears to have rewritten the EU's Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive in a case concerning the effects of the law on fundamental rights. While the ruling introduces a number of restrictions on what the authorities may do with PNR data, it nevertheless legitmises its ongoing use as a policing tool.

06 July 2020

EU: Travel data to be used for public health purposes?

The German Council Presidency has asked member states whether they are using passenger data collected by airline companies to track people infected with COVID-19, with an eye to expanding the scope of EU legislation on the issue. Currently EU rules are limited to using passenger data for "preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting terrorist offences and serious crime."

05 November 2018

EU: Europol foresees key role in "the EU travel intelligence architecture"

The EU policing agency Europol sees itself having a major role in the future "EU travel intelligence architecture", according to a report on the October meeting of the EU's 'Informal Working Group on PNR' (Passenger Name Record).

23 July 2018

EU: Travel surveillance: Commission demands PNR Directive implementation by 14 Member States as 'Informal Working Group' settles in

The European Commission has sent "letters of formal notice" to 14 EU Member States for failing to to implement the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive by the deadline of 25 May 2018. Meanwhile, an 'Informal Working Group' set up by the Council to assist with national implementation of the Directive appears to be steadily expanding - Australia, Canada and the USA have all participated in meetings and invitations have been sent to Japan and the United Nations, according to a recent document.

12 September 2016

EU: Council, Europol and "expert group" press on with plans to boost "information exchange and information management"

In May this year the Council of the EU drew up an extensive "roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management" in relation to justice and home affairs policies - principally policing, migration and counter-terrorism. A recent leaked document provides a summary of progress on a number of those actions, including detailed information on how security checks in the "hotspots" in Italy and Greece function.

10 December 2015

The European Parliament has "egg on its face": EU Passenger Name Record (PNR): Civil Liberties Committee backs EP/Council deal

In short, yes it is "voluntary" but all Member States have agreed to extend the scope of the Directive from recording PNR data from flights in and out of the EU to also include all flights between Member States within the EU - at a stroke the scope of the measure massively extended. It will be interesting to see how the European Parliament will react.

02 December 2015

FRANCE-EU: Valls to Pittella: if Parliament doesn't agree on PNR, Member States will do it themselves

French prime minister Manuel Valls has written to Gianni Pittella, chair of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, demanding the adoption of the EU Passenger Name Record Directive on air travel surveillance by the end of the year.

30 November 2015

EU-PNR: Mass surveillance legislation creeps closer: leaked compromise text

According to Politico, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU are close to an agreement on the Passenger Name Record Directive, which would require the mass surveillance of air travel as a first step towards the surveillance of all mass transport.

19 February 2015

Sweden: Authorities waiting for EU PNR Directive to upgrade passenger surveillance systems

Police seeking information on airline passengers in Sweden have to receive it by fax or collect it from airlines in person, but are apparently waiting for EU legislation on Passenger Name Records before setting up digital databases.

28 January 2015

EU: Travel surveillance: Commission attempts to soothe PNR critics with "workable compromise"

A leaked European Commission note sets out considerations on "the best way forward to respond to the different calls for a swift adoption of the EU PNR [Passenger Name Record] proposal," which would introduce blanket law enforcement surveillance and profiling of all passengers arriving in the EU by air.

22 December 2014

UK pushes for new EU law to allow the exchange of API on all air travel (DS 1335/14)

"In order for law enforcement agencies to effectively tackle the growing and evolving threat posed to European citizens, in particular from foreign fighters, it is necessary that they have a robust legal framework to access passenger data on intra-EEA routes."


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