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Slovenian Presidency, on behalf of the EU, and Australia sign agreement on providing airline passenger data to Australian authorities

Today, Australia and the EU, represented by the Slovenian Presidency, signed an agreement on the provision of passenger name record (PNR) data to Australian authorities.

Negotiations on the agreement were opened following the adoption of the EU negotiating mandate in February this year. The Presidency, as the chief negotiator for the EU and assisted by the Commission, engaged in intensive negotiations with the Australian side. The negotiations were successfully concluded in May, with a draft agreement that addressed the operative law enforcement needs of the competent Australian authorities while providing for robust data protection safeguards. The Presidency reached consensus on the draft agreement at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June, thus clearing the way for its signing.

According to Slovenian Interior Minister Dragutin Mate, the Agreement is one of the most important achievements of the Slovenian Presidency. It represents an important step towards reinforced cooperation between the EU and Australia in the fight against terrorism and serious crime, including organised crime.

The Agreement provides legal certainty for air carriers and EU-based reservation systems to transfer EU PNR data to the Australian Customs Service for the purpose of fight against serious crime, including terrorism and organised crime. The Agreement only applies to EU-sourced PNR data, as collected by air carriers, for those passengers travelling to, from or via Australia. The Agreement contains important commitments by the Australian Customs Service on the handling of EU PNR data in full respect of EU data protection law. The Agreement will provisionally apply as of its signing and will remain in force for seven years, thus ensuring legal certainty for EU air carriers and reservation systems for a considerable period.


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Date: 30.06.2008