EU says not to check intra-EU flights data for now

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BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia, Oct 4 (Reuters) The European Union has no plans to check private data of air passengers travelling on intra-EU flights for now, the bloc's top Justice and Security official said today.

The EU executive is to publish in early November a raft of anti-terrorism proposals, including a plan to collect and check data on air passengers before they fly to the 27-nation bloc.

''In the package I will propose to the ministers on November 6, there will be a proposal to collect passenger data for extra EU flights (flights from outside the EU),'' Commissioner of Justice and Security Franco Frattini told a news conference during a regional meeting on illegal migration, crime, and terrorism.

But he said there would be no data collection on intra-EU flights ''for the moment,'' as it raised questions regarding freedom of movement in the European border-free Schengen area, that will expand from 15 to 24 member states in December.

''We are evaluating the impact of collection of personal data of passengers for intra-EU flights given also the problem of compatibility with Schengen rules, which...guarantee full freedom of movement within the territory of the EU,'' Frattini said.

''So it is premature to say whether we will propose the extension of passenger (data collection) to intra-EU flights,'' he added.

The proposal to check on air passengers flying to the EU is based on a system set up by the United States after the Sept.

11, 2001 attacks.

Personal data including address and credit card details of people travelling from the EU to the United States are passed on to US authorities by the airlines.

''We have been dealing with the security of our international partners, first of all the United States. ... But now it is time to deal with security of our citizens,'' said Frattini.

REUTERS JK KP2010

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