US authorities are looking to increase the data European passengers must provide before being allowed to fly to the States. The present agreement, in which 34 pieces of information per passenger are passed on, runs out in July. Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, has been pleading the case before the European Parliament.
“We will generally elevate the level of security for all countries by having something called electronic travel authorisation which would be an online submission of the kind of information that you have in your passport in advance of travel,” he said.
The European Parliament does not have the power to block the request but it does have a voice in the matter. EU Justice and Security Commissioner, Franco Frattini said: “Now we are trying to define the remaining problems which are at stake, problems on the length of procedures, on the period of time for retention of data, and some other technicalities.”
Some MEPs question the measures’ usefulness. However, Chertoff claims had they been in place pre 2001, two of the 9/11 bombers might well have been stopped.