I parlamentari GUE/NGL criticano la direttiva PNR


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

Brussels 10 December 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 2015and 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.

Il Gue non riesce a fermare il PNR europeo

Bruxelles, July 15, 2015

Today the EP LIBE committee voted through the infamous EU PNR proposal, with an unholy alliance of EPP, ECR and some Liberals and Social-democrats, who were heavily lobbied by their governments to vote in favour of yet another mass data collection measure in the so-called fight against terrorism. The final vote was 32 in favour, 27 against and 4 abstentions.

Our Group has opposed this measure from its very inception, as it has never been showed that such far-reaching bulk data collection measures are indeed necessary and proportionate to the stated objectives, while they are a clear infringement on the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection of all citizens. We also demanded to stop the negotiations of this file until we hear back from the European Court of Justice on the compatibility of the EU-Canada PNR agreement with the fundamental rights charter.

Even after the initial rejection of this proposal in 2013 by the EP Civil Liberties Committee and in light of the European Court of Justice judgment annulling the infamous data retention Directive, arguing that untargeted mass collection of personal data is a violation of fundamental rights, the Commission never withdrew its proposal. After the horrible Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015, the right-wing has shamelessly used these attacks as a false justification for the necessity of this EU PNR model, even though it was clear that the perpetrators were known to various Member States but the information was not properly exchanged. Lack of cooperation between intelligence agencies was the problem here, not lack of data.

The currently adopted report makes it obligatory for Member States to collect the personal flight data (including credit card info, address, email, telephone number, food preferences etc) of all passengers flying into, our of or through EU territory. This is an outright attack on the right to personal data protection and the presumption of innocence, as it allows collecting the personal data of any passenger, without the requirement that they are officially suspect in any specific ongoing investigation on terrorist activity or serious transnational crime. Furthermore, the PNR data will be stored for a period of 5 years, and can be easily obtained by third countries with lower data protection standards than the EU or the EU agency Europol which can then share it with other ‘partners’, which means personal data of EU citizens risks at being scattered all around the globe with little or no protection or judicial remedies.

Today’s vote has once again shown that the right-wing and centre parties do not care about citizen’s rights, nor about the fundamental legal safeguards aiming at protecting these rights but blindly follow those who thrive on popular fear-driven rhetoric.

Our Group will continue to oppose this measure during trilogues, and hope we can still reject this in Plenary.


Policy Advisor
United European Left Group (GUE/NGL)
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
European Parliament