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The European Parliament today backed the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive along with the Data Protection Package, which creates a legal framework for the use of data in the EU. The S&D Group has long pushed for the adoption of both measures together to create rules fit for the 21st Century and help fight against organised crime and terrorism.

Speaking ahead of the vote, S&D Group president, Gianni Pittella, said:

"We have argued for a long time that it is essential to pass both of these important measures at the same time. The PNR directive can be a useful tool in the fight against terror. However, despite the constant portrayal from EPP and other equally demagogic right wing political groups, it is not a silver bullet. We won't defeat terrorism with a sort of water-gun. First and foremost it lacks an automatic and mandatory exchange of PNR data. Secondly, because it will only be useful under the condition that the member states realize that there is no other way out than working together to fight back against terrorist threats.

"The tragic events in Paris and Brussels have highlighted yet again that information is simply not shared or used appropriately by member states. We urgently need to improve the sharing of information between law enforcement agencies. That is why we pushed so hard for the Data Protection Package to be voted alongside PNR.  Thanks to the approval of the Data Protection Package we now have a harmonized European system that will allow national agencies to process and protect all data much more easily.

"We now urge member states to adopt these measures into national law as quickly as possible. They must also better use the existing tools available in the EU - covering vehicle registration, finger printing and DNA data - which are not being used to their full capacity. Governments must now fight terrorists together.

"The Socialists and Democrats proved once again that for us maintaining coherence means assuming responsibility and responsibility means standing firm for our citizens and keeping the pledges we make for them."

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