Statewatch article: RefNo# 36329
EU-PNR: European Parliament has "egg on its face"
Statewatch News Online, April 2016
The European Parliament has "egg on its face": EU Passenger Name Record (PNR): Civil Liberties Committee backs EP/Council deal (Press release, 10.12.15, pdf):

"The agreed directive will provide for the transfer by air carriers to EU member states' "Passenger Information Units" (PIUs) of PNR data of passengers of "extra-EU flights" (i.e.from a third country to an EU member state or vice-versa). It will allow, but not oblige, member states to apply its provisions also to "intra-EU flights" (i.e. from an EU member state to one or more of the other). If a member state wishes to apply this directive to intra- EU flights, "it shall give notice in writing to the Commission to that end", says the text." (emphasis added]

All 28 Member States in a Declaration (see below) have said they intended to invoke this sweeping new power.

In the agreed "compromise" text: Proposal for a Directive on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime - approval of final compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 14670-15, 46, pages, dated 2 December 2015, pdf): it states that:

"The text agreed contains the voluntary inclusion of intra-EU flights"

Thus the European Parliament agreed the compromise deal in the trilogue meetings. However, Member States have just circulated a Note following the Justiice and Home affairs Council of 3-4 December 2015:

"Draft declaration by the Member States to the minutes of the Council

"Article 1a of the PNR Directive allows Member States that so wish to apply it to intra-EU flights on a voluntary basis, upon notice to the Commission to that end.

Considering the current security situation in Europe, *Member States declare that by the date of transposition provided for in Article 15 they will make full use of the possibility provided for by Article 1a under the conditions set by the Directive.*
[thanks to EDRI]

In short, yes it is "voluntary" but all Member States have agreed to extend the scope of the Directive from recording PNR data from flights in and out of the EU to also include all flights between Member States within the EU - at a stroke the scope of the measure massively extended. It will be interesting to see how the European Parliament will react.

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