The Government announced, yesterday, its decision to opt into the draft directive on passenger name records. The Minister for Immigration, Damian Green, saidCritical to our decision of opting into the directive was the aim of securing an ability to mandate the collection of PNR data on flights between two EU member states, for the full usefulness of the system to be realised. I am pleased to say that the coalition Government made significant progress on this, ahead of the opt-in deadline, and that the European Council has given a clear political signal that it favours collection of data on intra-EU flights, following a UK amendment to that effect.

During the debate, Bill Cash made the following intervention: “…As the Minister knows, the European Scrutiny Committee is somewhat concerned, to say the least, about the blizzard of opt-ins and the fact that the negotiations on a number of very important matters are still going on. There is therefore some concern about the possibility of our opting in on the hoof, and we will keep these negotiations under close scrutiny, in particular the negotiation on the length of time for the retention of data, but also that on the definition of a serious crime and the question of proportionality in using these data for offences such as racism, xenophobia and sabotage. There is also the whole issue of sensitive personal data in itself. I know the Minister is apprised of these issues, but will he understand that we are extremely concerned and that as there are these important continuing negotiations it is not good enough simply to say, “We will accept it in principle and then discuss it all afterwards”?

Please read here what the above-mentioned proposal entail.