Fine Gael Ireland South MEP and member of the European Transport Committee, Deirdre Clune, has backed French calls for the European Parliament to immediately approve EU measures which would give European police forces access to passenger details on all flights, trains and ferries, operating both internally within Europe and to and from Europe.
The proposal, which is currently held up in the European Parliament, has been strongly opposed by a minority of MEPs, over concerns about the protection of personal data.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has now called on those MEPs to come together in a show of unity to act in the best interests of our security in Europe.
“Europe needs concrete and measured action – not rhetoric – and allowing police access to passenger’s data will help to improve security and identify all individuals who cross the EU’s external borders. It would let security services know who is on a plane, train or ferry up to 48 hours before they travel, and allow the police to cross-check passenger names against known terror lists.
“The use of Passenger Name Records data will prove useful in the fight against people trafficking, drug trafficking and international terrorism. There is no reason why it cannot be used successfully in the detection of those terror suspects, who are now travelling freely between Europe and Iraq and Syria.
“There is a difficult balance to be achieved here, between the freedoms that we seek to defend, whilst ensuring that we have the necessary means at our disposal to combat terrorism across Europe. Our goal is to strike that balance. All we are giving is names and basic data. I think we have stuck the right balance in this case and I would call on my colleagues in the European Parliament to immediately implement this law, so that we know who is travelling into and out of Europe.”
• In the airline and travel industries, a passenger name record (PNR) is a record in the database of a computer reservation system (CRS) that contains the itinerary for a passenger, or a group of passengers travelling together. The concept of a PNR was first introduced by airlines that needed to exchange reservation information in case passengers required flights of multiple airlines to reach their destination. When a passenger books an itinerary, the travel agent or travel website will create a PNR in the computer reservation system it uses.
• A draft law that would oblige airlines to handover to EU authorities the data of passengers entering or leaving the EU, in order to help those authorities to fight terrorism and serious transnational crime, is currently being discussed by European legislators. France is now asking for a quick adoption by the European Parliament of this law. It wants PNR to be extended to internal EU flights, with data stored for one year.