EU: PNR: MEPs back surveillance and profiling of air passengers

Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

- Leaked Council discussion document on "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states
- European Commission and Mexico open negotiations on PNR agreement

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has approved a proposed text for the EU PNR (Passenger Name Record) Directive, by 32 votes to 27. The legislation will be finalised later in the year through secret trilogue discussions between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Jan Phillip Albrecht, a Green MEP, has long been a critic of the proposed scheme. He has said that: "If these proposals do not infringe constitutional or treaty provisions, then civil rights in the EU is meaningless."

See: MEPs back blanket collection of airline passenger data (EUobserver, link)

More information:

  • EP press release: Passenger Name Records: MEPs back EU system with data protection safeguards (pdf)
  • EDRi press release: European Parliament pushes for more surveillance and profiling of EU citizens (pdf)
  • Council of Europe: Passenger Name Records, data mining & data protection: the need for strong safeguards (July 2015, pdf)

    This will not be the end of the PNR saga. There will likely be a legal challenge to the Directive when it passes; if it remains in place there are likely to be demands in the future for the extension of the system to travel by boat and rail.

    Leaked Council discussion document on "global approach"

    Meanwhile a growing number of countries across the globe are demanding access to PNR data for law enforcement purposes.

    The text of a leaked document sent on 14 July by the current Luxembourg Presidency to the Council's Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (COSI) sets out options for the future EU approach to agreements on transfers of PNR data from the EU to other countries. It notes that:

    "More and more third countries, among others Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand are (considering) using PNR data for law enforcement purposes, and have requested or are expected to request entering into bilateral agreements with the Union."

    See: Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries: a global approach? (10838/15, pdf)

    The EU currently has agreements with the Australia, Canada and the USA. The Canadian agreement has been referred by the European Parliament to the Court of Justice of the EU, for an opinion on whether it meets fundamental rights standards.

    European Commission and Mexico open negotiations on PNR agreement

    Problems have also arisen following demands from Mexico and Argentina for EU citizens' PNR data. On 15 July the European Commission belatedly opened negotiations with Mexico. Home Afairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said:

    "Mexico is a strategic partner of the European Union. Our partnership is essential in addressing today's global security challenges, especially in the areas of terrorism and transnational organised crime. Launching together the negotiations on PNR underlines the commitment and determination to strengthen of our already close partnership."


  • European Commission in a pickle over PNR (Statewatch News Online, March 2015)
  • European Commission press release: Commissioner Avramopoulos opens negotiations for an EU-Mexico Passenger Name Records agreement (pdf)
  • Joint statement: Beginning of negotiations between Mexico and the European Union on PNR data transmission (pdf)

    Our work is only possible with your support.
    Become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.


    Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

    Report error