Europe

EU approves security plan to track airline passenger info

Passengers walk with their luggage on the main road to Zaventem Airport in Brussels on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. A wildcat strike of air traffic controllers has paralyzed Brussels airport after their guild rejected a compromise aimed at solving a conflict over a pension reform. The strike action comes at a time when traffic was already reduced at the airport in the wake of the March 22 attacks. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Passengers walk with their luggage on the main road to Zaventem Airport in Brussels on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. A wildcat strike of air traffic controllers has paralyzed Brussels airport after their guild rejected a compromise aimed at solving a conflict over a pension reform. The strike action comes at a time when traffic was already reduced at the airport in the wake of the March 22 attacks. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

European Union lawmakers have approved a scheme to share airline passenger information that can be used to track foreign fighters heading to and from conflict areas like Syria and Iraq.

They endorsed the Passenger Name Record law on Thursday in a series of votes, ending years of wrangling over how to balance security needs and privacy rights.

Under the scheme, traveler details will be collected from European carrier flights entering or leaving the EU and from flights between member countries. The information will be kept for six months.

At least 5,000 Europeans are believed to have trained or fought in Syria and Iraq but authorities are struggling to track their movements and prove their activities.

The EU already has passenger data deals with the U.S., Canada and Australia.