Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

European Parliament, Brussels. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) meeting - 4th NSA inquiry hearing. (EP Audiovisual Services, 30/09/2013).

European Parliament, Brussels. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) meeting – 4th NSA inquiry hearing. (EP Audiovisual Services, 30/09/2013).

The members of Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament and the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström will discuss on Wednesday 9 October the possibility to ask for the suspension or even the termination of the EU-US agreement on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP). This action will come as a response to the American National Security Agency snooping scandal relating to personal bank information data of millions of EU citizens, exchanged through the SWIFT network.

According to information published in the Press, NSA bugged EU’s central building in the US and also taped EU citizens’ bank data, handled by the Belgian company SWIFT. The revelations about NSA spying on bank-to-bank messages through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network came from top-secret documents, leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden to the press. Probably more than 11,000 thousand banks and other financial entities worldwide use SWIFT for theirs and their customers’ financial transactions and messaging.

No convincing answers

On 24 September Malmström informed the MEPs that she had not yet received satisfactory replies from the US authorities, concerning the allegations. She said she had written to the Under Secretary of US Treasury, David Cohen, on 12 September to ask for clarifications, following the allegations in the Press that the NSA had been wiring personal financial data from SWIFT’s international bank-transfer database. Then she stressed “I am not satisfied with the answers I got so far…we need more information and clarity”.

It must be noted that the Commission has requested formal consultations with the US under Article 19 of the TFTP agreement. This is the normal way to seek its suspension or termination. “If media reports are true this constitutes a breach of the agreement and a breach of the agreement can lead to suspension,” Mrs Malmström pointed out on Tuesday 24 September. She also clarified that, “If the Commission deemed it necessary to propose a suspension, “this should be decided by qualified majority in the Council”.

What next?

After the debate scheduled for Wednesday 9 October at the Civil Liberties Committee, the full Parliament will vote on a resolution on this issue at its second plenary session of 21-24 October. Judging from the mood that prevailed during the September meetings, next Wednesday the MEPs of the Committee will most probably ask the Plenary to propose the termination of the EU-US TFTP agreement. During the September meeting Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), committee rapporteur for the inquiry, asked his fellow MEPs: “Would you agree to suspend the agreement given the unclear answers from the US?” Parliament’s rapporteur for the TFTP deal, Alexander Alvaro (ALDE, DE), confirmed that he would be in favour of suspension as a “minimum option”.

Europol and SWIFT

During previous hearings of the LIBE Committee, the MEPs had the opportunity to discuss this issue with the Europol and SWIFT representatives. Both of them however had nothing to add to the debate. As non-elected officials usually do, they both fortified themselves behind strict official procedures. “We simply have no evidence of the US being in breach of the TFTP agreement, so we cannot confirm or deny any of these allegations,” the director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, told the inquiry, insisting that the EU police agency had “no direct cooperation with the NSA or the CIA”.

The same ‘ni vu, ni connu’ line was followed also by Blanche Petre, General Counsel of SWIFT. When asked by MEPs if he had any indication of any form on the alleged taping, he said “We have no reason to believe that there has been an unauthorised access to our data”. This is the kind of officials who prefer to insist that nothing happens, even if the entire city outside their windows is on fire.

In any case the issue will soon be clarified in the full Parliament and most probably the Commission will be mandated by the legislative to ask the Council to seek termination of the EU-US TFTP agreement.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The Ukrainian crisis to destabilize Europe and the world for a long time

Impacting society with digital ingenuity – World Summit Award proclaiming the top 8 worldwide

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

EU budget: Commission proposes most ambitious Research and Innovation programme yet

The Parliament paves the way for the creation of the European Banking Union

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

Libya: Attack on foreign ministry, an attack on all Libyans, stresses UN envoy

DR Congo elections: ‘Excessive use of force’ in campaign must be avoided, says Bachelet

ECB’s Draghi favours a cheaper euro to serve all Eurozone countries

How many more financial crises in the West can the world stand?

Cultural Intelligence: the importance of changing perspectives

Why the merchant ships can pollute the atmosphere with CO2 quite freely

Here’s how we can tackle the growing cybersecurity skills gap

70 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is why we need dignity more than ever

How telehealth can get healthcare to more people

Why South Africa is on a path of economic renewal

G20 LIVE: The European Sting covers online world news and the latest developments at G20 from Antalya Turkey

US prosecutors now target Volkswagen’s top management, upsetting Germany

Hollande protects the euro from the attacks of extremists

UN rights experts call on Russia to release Ukrainian film-maker whose life is in ‘imminent danger’

‘Collective endeavour’ needed to strengthen peacekeeping further, says top UN official

Boom in Artificial Intelligence patents, points to ‘quantum leap’ in tech: UN report

Is Haiti better prepared for disasters, nine years on from the 2010 earthquake?

Eurostat confirms a dangerously fast falling inflation in Eurozone

‘Global care crisis’ set to affect 2.3 billion people warns UN labour agency

DR Congo: Ebola response resumes despite ‘risky environment’

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

Eurozone: The cycle of deficits, debts and austerity revisited

European Youth Capital 2019 announced: Novi Sad, Serbia

We have to fight for a fairer tech industry for women

European Banking Union: Like the issue of a Eurobond?

Capitalism’s greatest weakness? It confuses price with value

Trump to subject the Fed, challenge the ECB and make Wall St. bankers even richer

Restoring prospect of peace in Middle East is ‘our shared responsibility’ UN envoy tells Security Council

How banks should prepare for robots going rogue

Medical Education is #NotATarget

Armenia should take vigorous measures against entrenched corruption

The EU pollution rights trading system frozen

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

The EU Consumer Policy on the Digital Market: A Behavioral Economics View

European Commission adopts new list of third countries with weak anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regimes

The EU Commission implicates major banks in cartel cases, threatens with devastating fines

US-North Korea summit ‘an important milestone’ towards denuclearization, says Guterres

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

More urgency needed to help increasing numbers ‘locked out’, before 2030, says UN’s Bachelet

Solutions for cultural understanding: medical students’ perspective

“Our house is on fire.” 16 year-old Greta Thunberg wants action

Venice will now start charging tourists an entrance fee

Did Draghi ask the Germans to accept a drastic change of austerity policies?

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

How China raised the stakes for electric vehicles

The deforestation risks lurking in the banking sector

EU to lead one more fight against climate change at G7 summit

Trade, taxes and other takeaways from Li Keqiang’s speech to the World Economic Forum

How well you age depends on what you think of old age

Why Sweden’s cashless society is no longer a utopia

How and why Mercedes fakes the EU fuel consumption tests

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

The Americans are preparing for the next financial crisis

The rise of alternative medical practices in modern sports

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s