Almost half of the Member States seem to have shown a minimum interest in the implementation of an EU law, defined as a key in the fight against terrorism.

Adopted in April 2016, the EU Passenger Name Directive was passed to the legislative process against a background of political promises to strengthen Europe’s security due to terrorist attacks in France and Belgium.

The draft law came with great warnings, received millions of EU taxpayers’ money and was strongly supported by Paris.

The defenders of the proposal say that it helps security services identify suspicious patterns of behaviour in their efforts to deal with potential terrorists and other criminals by collecting and sharing passenger data.

However, critics say this undermines fundamental rights and does not help the police to find suspects. Some even describe it as “unjustified mass collection of passenger data”.

Timothy Kirkhope, British member of the EU Parliament, who led the initiative at the time, promised immediate results.

“EU governments are clear that they really want to start working almost immediately,” he said in early 2016.

But on Thursday (September 6th), EU Security Commissioner Julian King drew a very different reality. In his words, a dozen Member States have postponed the process and are now threatened with penalties from Brussels. Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain have received over €120 million to implement the mechanisms under the law. The biggest share of funding has gone to France. At the same time, only 13 people have been so far suspended on the basis of the Passenger name record (PNR) system.

The law was on hold in the European Parliament for years, taking into account unresolved issues relating to rights and concerns about the collection of personal data.

Former Prime Minister of France, Bernard Cazeneuve, accused the European Parliament of acting “irresponsible for postponing of the vote”, but obviously the decision will not come soon.