MEPs told to vote or else as US data row deepens
Passenger record botch needed
The European Parliament has been asked to vote to approve or reject the Passenger Name Record agreement with the US.
The Civil Liberties Committee is likely to postpone its vote until a new template has been created, to detail what information is exchanged. The Committee also wants to lay down how the information should be stored and used.
Instead of taking the matter to Parliament and risking a no vote and the end of any exchange the committee's rapporteur Sophie in 't Veld recommends a delay to the vote, which will allow the existing agreement to stay in place. She warned that a no vote would put an end to current data sharing.
She hopes to have a standard PNR file model ready by April for MEPs to vote on.
But a spokesman for the Commission said it was preparing a communication on what should be included in PNR files but said it was doubtful that institutions would managed to meet Veld's timetable. It could take until autumn to get a prototype file ready and approved by the European Parliament.
PNR files cover 19 data fields including passenger name, payment type and where the ticket was issued. The agreement has been in place since shortly after September 2001 and MEPs have complained about it before.
The debate has been restarted by the Lisbon Treaty which requires parliamentary approval for certain foreign policy commitments. The full statement is here. ®
Why do we give the Yanks this information?
Unless I am mistake, I don't believe we get anything in response, or indeed any benefit from it. Scrap it, the world will keep turning; just maybe not revolving around the North American continent so much.
Vote Early or Vote Often
I'm guessing that if it appeared that MEPs were going to vote in favour, the vote would have been rushed through. The alternative is similar to the Irish referendum on the EU Constitution, sorry - Lisbon Treaty, where a wrong answer means they have to come back and do it again until they get the right answer.
Then PNR not needed
If PNR is for terrorist detection and watch lists are shared (as you claim), then the flight has already been checked against the watchlist before the suspect boarded in the EU and PNR isn't needed to catch terrorists because it is simply a check that has already been made.
Ergo we don't need to give them PNR data and we can afford to take time to discuss the alternatives using the proper democratic processes.