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EU states to share airline passenger information(PNR)

5 December 2015 8:38



The European Union (EU) interior ministers have reached an agreement on a system to share airline passenger information in a bid to track potential extremists and prevent further terrorist attacks.

The so-called Passenger Name Record (PNR) deal, which came on Friday, will grant EU law enforcement agencies access to information gathered by airlines including names, contact details and credit cards.

Under the passenger data deal, details would be collected from European carrier flights entering or leaving the EU as well as those between member countries. All the information will be kept on file for six months.

Luxembourg Interior Minister Etienne Scheider expressed “pride that after so many years of negotiations we have now been able to conclude an agreement.”

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve also described the system as “indispensable in the fight against terrorism.”

The PNR system, which was first proposed in 2007, has languished in the European Parliament for more than two years as members of the chamber have been struggling to pass it because of privacy concerns.

The assembly is now expected to grant final approval for the measure within the next month.

A French police officer checks a person’s papers at a border post on the French-Spanish border on the A63 motorway in Biriatou, southwestern France, on December 4, 2015. ©AFP

The deal was reached following the November 13 terrorist attacks in the French capital, Paris, which claimed the lives of 130 people.

It was revealed the suspected mastermind of the Paris assaults, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, traveled around Europe undetected after returning from Syria, where he fought alongside terrorist groups.

At least 5,000 Europeans are believed to have trained or fought in Syria and Iraq but authorities are struggling to track their movements and prove their activities.

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