Advance Passenger Information: new rules to improve border controls and identify security threats

Author: Caroline Rhawi



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The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee today adopted the European Parliament’s negotiating mandate for two legislative proposals on the collection and transfer of advance passenger information (API).

As more than half a billion people enter or leave the EU via air every year, the collection of API - the details of travellers’ information that are gathered by air carriers at check-in and sent to border control authorities and passenger information units - is necessary to improve border controls and make it easier to identify persons posing security risks. The new rules will strengthen the use of API to facilitate checks on passengers before their arrival at the EU’s external borders and enhance the fight against serious crime and terrorism, while also safeguarding the data protection of passengers.

Jan-Christoph Oetjen (FDP, Germany), the European Parliament’s rapporteur for the Regulation on the Collection and Transfer of API for Enhancing and Facilitating External border controls, said after the vote:

"The Advanced Passenger Information regulation will finally harmonise rules and sets standards for the digital usage of passenger information. A great success is that passenger can still check in online and provide their necessary passenger data to their flights from home. The risk of having to check each passenger's documents individually for every flight within the EU has thus been eliminated. However, some of the proposals go far beyond reality. Imposing two or even four percent of an airline’s annual turnover as a penalty for non-compliance is disproportionate and could negatively impact jobs and economy in the EU. As Renew Europe, we are calling for intra-EU flights to be completely exempt from regulation.

The report adopted today includes a new single central router which will help streamline the transmission of API data to national authorities, replacing the system of multiple connections between air carriers and national authorities. At the same time, a clear set of rules for collecting, transferring, processing and storing API data will give border authorities a more complete view of travellers arriving to better manage their border processes and prevent any illegal border crossings.

The Renew Europe group pushed for the gathering and use of personal data to be limited to what is strictly necessary and proportionate, for the storage time to be limited to the minimum, and for the burden on travellers to be as small as possible.

Next steps:
The mandate of the two regulations will be announced at the next plenary of the European Parliament. If not challenged, inter-institutional negotiations with the Council can start.


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