EU Agrees on Air Passenger Info Sharing System as Paris Cafe Reopens
Almost a month after Paris’ deadly terrorist attacks, it was a weekend of shored-up security and new beginnings. Friday saw the European Union agreed on a system for sharing airline passenger information — a key element in tracking potentially dangerous individuals. That same day, a Parisian cafe sprayed by deadly gunfire reopened, the Associated Press reported.
The “Passenger Name Record Proposal” was first put forth in 2007, the AP said, but the recent attacks gave its passage extra urgency. As the news service noted, EU lawmakers struggled for years, “trying to balance security needs with privacy rights.”
Meanwhile, passenger data agreements are already in place between the EU and the U.S., Canada and Australia, the AP said.
But finally on Friday, EU interior ministers moved to allow law-enforcement agencies access to information formerly privy to just the airlines, such as names, travel dates, itinerary, credit cards and contact details. This information would be collected from flights by European carriers departing or arriving the EU, and from flights between member nations, and then kept on file for six months, the AP revealed.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve described the system as “indispensable in the fight against terrorism,” according to the AP. The news agency pointed out that at least 5,000 Europeans are believed to have traveled to Syria and Iraq for training or fighting, but the EU is having a tough time keeping an eye on them.
The EU assembly must still give its formal blessing, but that is seen as a formality, the AP declared.
Friday also saw the reopening of La Bonne Biere, a corner cafe in Paris’ popular central district where terrorist gunmen killed five people.
Paule Zlotnik, a owner of a neighboring shop, was pleased by the decision, telling the AP, “It’s time they open and that we continue life as it was before.”
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