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GUE/NGL MEPs criticise PNR directive as ineffective in countering terrorism


11 Dec 2015



Following this morning's vote in the LIBE Committee which endorsed a draft EU directive regulating the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, GUE/NGL MEPs have criticised it as ineffective and a breach of privacy.

German MEP, Cornelia Ernst, expressed the need for more effective measures to counter terrorism: "The despicable events in Paris should have prompted a serious discussion about how to prevent terrorism and which security measures are actually effective for this purpose. But instead we are getting more off-the-shelf policies. The proposed PNR directive has been on the table since 2012. It would not have made the world safer back then, and for sure it will not do so in 2016."

Swedish MEP, Malin Björk, commented: "The European Court of Justice recently stated that collecting personal data of citizens without specific targeting contravenes the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and now we see this again in the draft Passenger Name Record directive. Framing the PNR directive as a counter-terrorism initiative is unacceptable; it is just another instrument for mass surveillance of people."

French MEP, Marie-Christine Vergiat, added: "This vote represents an unprecedented decline in the Community acquis on data protection and privacy. The European PNR proposal was revived following the attacks in Paris in January 2015 and accelerated after the attacks in Paris on November 13 which highlighted the problem of cooperation between member states in the fight against terrorism and cross-border organised crime. It is therefore incomprehensible that the agreement reached between the Council and Parliament does not mandate the exchange of information resulting from the processing of PNR data. The apologists for this system have managed to set up an inefficient and expensive system, built on the exploitation of fear."

Italian MEP, Barbara Spinelli, further explained the position of GUE/NGL MEPs: "We stand against the introduction of a PNR Directive which the European Data Protection Supervisor and other important authorities have declared as neither necessary nor proportionate. I think the Union should not fall prey to a policy of fear, but it seems to be doing just that: preparing to adopt further counter-terrorism measures before assessing their proportionality and their legal necessity, while member states are resisting real cooperation using the existing instruments. I believe there will be a time when the European Court of Justice will prove that we were right all along, as happened in the case of the Digital Rights Ireland (C-293/12) and Schrems (C-362/14) judgements. Hopefully that time will come sooner rather than later."


The draft directive on PNR will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole early next year.


GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

European United Left / Nordic Green Left

European Parliamentary Group