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EU/Canada Negotiations: Passenger Name Record Data

Volume 635: debated on Tuesday 30 January 2018

Until the UK leaves the EU it remains a full member, and the Government will continue to consider the application of the UK’s right to opt in to, or opt out of, forthcoming EU legislation in the area of justice and home affairs on a case-by-case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security and protecting our civil liberties.

The Government have decided to opt in to a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and Canada for the transfer and use of passenger name record (PNR) data.

This agreement will replace the EU/Canada PNR agreement which expired in 2009. The UK opted-in to negotiations for a new agreement which opened in 2010. When an envisaged agreement was presented to the European Parliament for approval in July 2014, the Parliament referred it to the Court of Justice of the European Union for an opinion on its compliance with the treaties and the charter of fundamental rights. In July 2017, the Court found that the envisaged agreement could not be concluded in its current form and the Council has now decided to reopen negotiations.

The UK, in common with the other EU member states and with an increasing number of third countries, places considerable value on the processing and analysis of PNR data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.

PNR data is used by many countries to detect individuals involved in serious crime and terrorism-related activity as well as enabling the protection of vulnerable victims of trafficking.

The Government believe that PNR agreements between the EU and third countries play a vital role in assuring the protection of personal data within PNR data and providing legal certainty for air carriers required to disclose personal data to third countries’ authorities. It is for this reason the Government have decided to opt in to the negotiation of an EU/Canada agreement on the transfer and use of PNR data to prevent and combat terrorism and other serious transnational crime.