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US And EU Sign Interim Deal On PNR Transfers

by Ulrika Lomas, for, Brussels

17 October 2006

The European Council announced on Monday that it has adopted a decision authorising the Presidency to sign an interim agreement with the United States on the continued use of passenger name record (PNR) data.

The process of signature by both parties is due to be completed on 18 October.

On 6 October, the EU and the United States completed negotiations on the interim agreement, which covers the processing and transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the US Administration.

The interim agreement provides legal certainty by replacing an Agreement of May 2004 between the European Community and the US, following the European Court of Justice's judgment of 30 May 2006.

The decision was adopted by the General Affairs and External Relations Council without discussion.

The interim agreement enables PNR data in the reservation systems of air carriers to continue to be transferred to the US in the same way as under the previous agreement. The US Administration may access electronically PNR data from air carriers' reservation/departure control systems located within the territory of the EU Member States, in accordance with specific undertakings. This system will be replaced in due course by one under which airlines in the EU will send the required data to the US.

Under the interim agreement, the EU will ensure that air carriers operating passenger flights in foreign air transportation to or from the US process PNR data contained in their automated reservation systems as required by the US Administration.

The Agreement will apply provisionally as of the date of signature. It will expire upon the date of application of any superseding agreement and in any event no later than 31 July 2007, unless extended by mutual written agreement.

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