USA-Czech Republic: Visa Waiver Scheme: Full text of the US-Czech Memorandum of Understanding signed in February 2008

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Full-text (pdf)

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has held bilateral talks in addition with: Estonia, Germany, Greece, and the UK. The MOU would introduce exchange of personal data on passengers gathered by Czech law enforcement and passed to the USA and the USA would check and inspect the systems in place to gather the data.

The Council of the European Union is seeking to negotiate from a common position on US demands for the implementation of the visa waiver scheme - the USA has been negotiating bilaterally with individual member states. A statement issued on 5 March: US Visa Waiver Program Legislation (Press release, pdf) and EU doc no: 7337/2008, pdf) - unusually from the Mixed Committee at Permanent Representative level (ie: including Schengen members such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland).

This sets out negotiating positions in reaction to the MOU circulated by the USA. These include:

- On PNR (passenger name record) the EU says that the EU-US PNR agreement "should suffice and no additional requirements should be added"

- extraordinarily: "No commitment as to access for the US to EU/EC databases or information system". The Czech MOU envisages law enforcement personal data on passengers being passed over to the USA and the US checking the systems through which checks are made

- data on lost and stolen passports should be, as agreed, via Interpol

- international law sets out the obligations to take back expelled citizens and any agreement should be on the basis of reciprocity negotiated at EU level

- the sharing of PNR data obtained from third countries should be consistent with the EU-US PNR agreement

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