Yorkshire MEP attacks block on data deal

EURO-MP Timothy Kirkhope has criticised attempts to block a deal which would see European countries swap information with Canada that could help combat terrorism.

Timothy Kirkhope, MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber.

MEPs voted to refer the deal covering data held by airlines to the European Court of Justice because of concerns about the “mass collection” of information.

Mr Kirkhope, Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, has been campaigning for so-called passenger name record (PNR) data to be used and regulated more effectively.

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Earlier this month he launched a fresh attempt to bring in an EU-wide system for the exchanging and regulation of PNR data.

He claimed the failure to agree the deal with Canada would actually mean data is exchanged under existing rules which give EU citizens less protection. Used properly, the data could help combat human trafficking and drug smuggling as well as terrorism, he said.

“These agreements are particularly important to the security of the EU given the current threat of EU foreign fighters. We cannot afford this delay, which will leave the world much less safe.”

Speaking after the vote, one of the leading critics of the deal, Dutch MEP Sophie In’t Veld said: “We want legal certainty for EU citizens and air carriers, not just with regard to the EU-Canada PNR agreement, but also as a benchmark for future agreements with other countries which involve the mass collection of European citizens’ personal data.”