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MEPs endorse updated Advance Passenger Information laws

29 ноември 2023 11:04, Людмила Калъпчиева
Излъчване: Туида Нюз преди 2 месеца, брой четения: 108
European Parliament

News laws to make data collection of air passengers mandatory and harmonised

MEPs want to see proportional data collection in line with EU court rulings

Uniform rules on Advance Passenger Information collection aim to boost the EU’s security and its ability to fight and prevent serious crime.

 

The Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee today adopted two draft reports on collecting Advance Passenger Information (API) to enhance security at the EU’s external borders, and to boost the prevention of and fight against crime. They were adopted with 50 votes in favour, 7 against, and 0 abstentions (border management) and 53 votes in favour, 6 against, and 1 abstention (law enforcement).

 

The new rules will require air carriers to collect and transmit passenger data systematically to competent authorities. They will apply to flights arriving in an EU country from a third country in the case of border management, and also to flights departing from an EU country in the case sharing data with law enforcement. Additionally, EU countries can choose to apply the latter rules to selected flights within the EU.

 

The collected data will include the passenger’s name, date of birth, nationality, passport details, and flight information. To harmonise data collection, the new laws specify the data elements to be collected. Also, data quality will be improved, as it can only be collected in a uniform and automated way, replacing manual logging.

 

 

EP pushes for proportional and court-compliant rules

 

 

In their position, MEPs have sought to limit the types of API data to what is necessary, respecting proportionality and fundamental rights, and in accordance with European Court of Justice case-law, and exclude biometric data from the scope. They emphasise that collecting API data is not a reason to check travel documents before boarding, for instance when travelling within the Schengen area. Instead, the data would be collected during check-in procedures.

 

Also, MEPs want to shorten the time period of airlines and border authorities storing API data after the departure of a flight from 48 to 24 hours, unless travel facilitation measures by the airline require more time. MEPs have also proposed to add a new article ensuring that API data collection does not lead to discrimination based on sensitive features such as sex, gender, ethnic origin, language, minority status, disability or religion. Finally, Parliament wants fines of up to 2 % of an airline’s global turnover if they systematically or persistently violate the rules.

 

 

Quotes

 

 

“In 2019, the EU recorded about 1 billion air passengers, half of which took intra-EU flights. Managing this enormous flow of people is a challenge for the public authorities and private parties involved. The vast majority of travellers are of good will, but criminals also hide among the flows, playing with typos in their names or birthdates to evade being caught by the police. This new, privacy-compliant legislation will help get the right information about passengers to the right authorities. The automated data collection will make life easier for customers but more difficult for terrorists and other criminals. This will make Europe safer for our citizens”, said the rapporteur for the proposals on law enforcement and crime prevention, Assita Kanko (ECR, Belgium).

 

"The Advanced Passenger Information regulation will finally harmonise rules and sets standards for the digital usage of passenger information. A great success is that passengers can still check in online and provide their necessary passenger data to their flights from home. The risk of having to check each passenger's documents individually for every flight within the EU has thus been eliminated”, added the rapporteur for proposals on border management, Jan-Christoph Oetjen (Renew, Germany).

 

 

Background and next steps

 

 

The new laws are part of the EU Security Union strategy to strengthen the EU’s internal and external security. In a previous assessment, MEPs concluded that previous API legislation has contributed to more efficient border controls, and welcomed a modernising revision.

 

MEPs authorised the start of trilogue negotiations. Once the draft position has been endorsed by the full house of the European Parliament, negotiations with the Council on the final form of the law can begin.