EU Parliament Eyes Air-Passenger Terror Law by Year-End

The European Parliament said it would try to complete work by year-end on draft legislation that would force airlines to give national governments in Europe information on passengers.

The pledge by the European Union assembly highlights renewed terrorism concerns after the attacks in Paris last month in which three radical gunmen killed 17 people. The planned law stalled after the EU Parliament’s civil-liberties committee rejected the initiative in April 2013 because of concerns about data protection.

The draft legislation, proposed by European regulators in 2011, would require EU and foreign carriers to provide national authorities with data about passengers on flights to and from the bloc; the measure, legally called a Directive, covers the “passenger name record” including seat number, reservation date, payment method and travel itinerary.

In a resolution approved today in Strasbourg, France, the 28-nation Parliament said it “commits itself to work toward the finalization of an EU PNR Directive by the end of the year.”

The proposed Europe-wide PNR program would resemble a U.S. system established after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The EU measures faced opposition from Socialist, Liberal and Green members of the bloc’s Parliament.

Timothy Kirkhope, a U.K. member steering the draft legislation through the 751-seat assembly, has vowed to propose beefed-up provisions on data protection in a bid to win over skeptical lawmakers. A British Tory, Kirkhope belongs to the EU Parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists Group, the third-biggest faction, behind the No. 1 Christian Democrats and No. 2 Socialists.

Tentative Accord

The draft law also needs the support of EU governments, which have already reached a tentative accord among themselves on the measures. Any differences with the EU Parliament would have to be ironed out in negotiations.

In its resolution today, the Parliament urged the governments to make progress on separate draft European legislation regarding data protection so that negotiations between the assembly and member states on that package can take place in parallel with talks on a final PNR accord.

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