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Europe seals air passenger name-swap deal with US

PNR welcomed by EU council

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A contentious new deal allowing the European Union to swap airline passenger information with US officials has been agreed by EU interior ministers.

The transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) data by carriers that operate passenger flights between the two regions grants the US Department of Homeland Security access to such information.

Earlier this week, Europe's MEPs welcomed the agreement to store air passenger data on people flying into and out of the EU for five years.

A similar system is already in place in the US, which retains such information on passengers for more than 10 years.

The new agreement in Europe replaces a provisional arrangement that had been in place since 2007. The UK opted in to the new agreement in February.

"The goal is to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute terrorist offenses and related crimes as well as other serious cross-border crimes punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of at least three years," said the EU council in a brief statement welcoming the agreement. ®

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