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Final vote on PNR delayed

A final vote by the European Parliament on a proposed directive allowing the transfer of passenger name data (PNR) from airlines to EU countries has been delayed by "left wing groups", Reuters has reported.04 Mar 2016

Socialist, Liberal and Green MEPs have blocked talks on the proposed PNR Directive scheduled for next week, with there being a knock-on delay to the final vote, a group of Conservative lawmakers said, according to Reuters.

PNR data can include any personal information collected during bookings for flights, including home addresses, mobile phone numbers, frequent flyer information, email addresses and credit card details.

The Council of Ministers reached agreement with the European Parliament on the proposal in December. Under the new directive, airlines will be obliged to provide authorities in the EU with the PNR data for flights entering or departing from the trading bloc. It will also allow, but not oblige, EU countries to collect PNR data concerning selected intra-EU flights. The approved compromise text establishes that PNR data collected may only be processed for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.

"The leaders of the left-wing groups in the European Parliament have played games with this proposal from day one," Timothy Kirkhope, a Conservative MEP said, according to Reuters. Kirkhope said that the proposed law is a "critical counter-terrorism tool".

The PNR Directive has been under discussion since it was proposed in 2011, to bring the EU into line with US, Canada and Australia. In 2012, the European Parliament approved an agreement allowing the EU to exchange airline passenger information with the US.

The UK and Ireland have opted in to the PNR Directive, while Denmark has not.