In the EU, personal data is only to be transferred to third countries in 'very exceptional cases'. However, on 17 May 2004, the Council adopted a decision approving the conclusion of an agreement between the EU and the United States on the processing and transfer of passenger name records (PNR) data by air carriers established in the EU member states to the US customs and border protection. The agreement was signed on 28 May 2004 and entered into force right away.
In September 2004, the European Parliament brought a legal case against the Commission in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the EU/US passenger name records (PNR) agreement. Parliament accused the Commission of misuse of powers, breach of fundamental rights and of the principle of proportionality. The Parliament also appealed to the ECJ for annulment of the Council decision adopting the agreement.
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has supported the Parliament in both cases.