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EU PNR directive gets funding before being adopted

16 January, 2013

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: EU PNR-Richtlinie zur Fluggastüberwachung: Erst finanzieren, dann ver...

The European Parliament (EP) Civil Liberties Committee is to vote, by the end of January 2013, on the controversial EU-Passenger Name Record (PNR) directive proposal introduced in February 2011 that has already been examined by the three EP committees. However, the European Commission has already issued a Call for Proposals to fund with 50 million Euro for setting up national units for the collection, processing, analysis and exchange of passenger name record data.

The directive would require the establishment within the EU Member States of systems to collect, store and process large amounts of personal data from people flying into (and possibly within) Europe, with the stated purpose of preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting terrorist offences and serious crime.

Further on, the Council will discuss "certain issues" in the proposal at its meeting in Luxembourg in June. The system will enter into force once the Council and the EP reach an agreement.

The proposal has been fiercely opposed and criticized as having no legal basis and as being ineffective for its declared purpose, while affecting the privacy and liberties of the citizens. And yet, the Commission is pushing it further and is making 50 million Euro available for the establishment of Passenger Information Units (PIUs) in the Member States. The units, beside collecting, processing, analysing, and exchanging PNR data, should also “be able to carry out risk assessment of passengers on the basis of the PNR data held in the database mentioned under point 3 prior to their arrival or departure either on the basis of criteria or by comparing the data against relevant databases.”

One of the expected results of the project is the “establishment of a database capable of gradually reducing the access to the data, for example by depersonalising the data through masking out the personal identifiable information.” On 9 January 2013, the Commission launched a call for proposals for projects to establish such PIUs in the Member State with 90% of the costs covered from the EU Prevention of and Fight against Crime fund.

Although the "running costs of any system set up further to EU legislation, in principle have to be borne by the Member States," the Commission said it was "willing to use existing financial funds to support Member States in the establishment of the passenger information units." Only a minimum of 10% of the total eligible costs are to be provided by the applicant or one of its partners.

The deadline for Member States' applications for financial assistance for PIUs is 10 April 2013, the winning proposals to be decided by the end of September. "The projects are expected to commence shortly after the award of a grant, at the latest 1 January 2014," says the Commission call.

And this entire process is developed although the EU PNR directive is still under discussion showing a clear willingness of the Commission to pass the draft directive no matter what.

Commission makes €50 million available for the development of "big brother" PNR databases - before legislation has even been agreed (11.01.2013)

Prevention of and fight against crime 2007-2013 - Action Grants 2012 - Targeted Call for Proposals



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