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.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Scientists in Iceland are turning carbon dioxide into rock

MWC 2016 LIVE: Orange targets VoLTE and Voice over Wi-Fi; strikes Google partnership

What young people can teach world leaders about mental health in 2020

How young entrepreneurs should be supported: what assistance should governments provide?

Investment Plan for Europe: European Investment Bank to provide BioNTech with up to €100 million in debt financing for COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing

It’s ‘time for concrete action’ says UN chief, welcoming inter-Korean agreement

China is building 8 new airports a year

Understanding our own garden that we call mind

Colombia: ‘Terrible trend’ of rights defenders killed, harassed; UN calls for ‘significant effort’ to tackle impunity

Trade defence report: restoring the level playing field for European producers

Zero carbon by 2050 is possible. Here is what we need to do

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

Technology can help solve the climate crisis – but it will need our help

COVID-19: MEPs call for measures to close the digital gap in education

Number of MEPs to be reduced after EU elections in 2019

Mental Health Policy, a significant driver for growth

Will Europe be a different place this Monday?

Professional practices of primary health care for Brazilian health and gender inequality

Is there a drug for every disease?

Gig workers among the hardest hit by coronavirus pandemic

This robot boat delivered a box of oysters in a breakthrough for unmanned shipping

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

Uganda’s Ebola preparedness ‘will go a long way’ says WHO chief

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

Top UN Syria envoy hails ‘impressive’ start to historic talks in Geneva

UN resolution paves way for mass use of driverless cars

Refugee resettlement: ‘Tremendous gap’ persists between needs, and spaces on offer

DR Congo: Restore internet services as ‘a matter of urgency’, urges UN expert

World Bank downgrades global growth forecasts, poorest countries hardest hit

All for equality – 2020 is a pivotal year for Gender Equality

What does a good digital ID look like?

The world is facing a $15 trillion infrastructure gap by 2040. Here’s how to bridge it

More than 80% of adolescents worldwide aren’t getting enough exercise

‘Massive and protracted’ humanitarian crisis in DR Congo can be ‘beaten back’ if donors step up

Access still an obstacle to reaching stricken communities on Indonesian island: UN agencies

5 ways you can protect insects if you live in a city

Questions directors need to ask in the age of stakeholder capitalism

Give (mental) health to the young health workforce

The EU slowly exits from “Excessive Deficit Procedure” and hopefully from ‘Excessive Austerity Procedure’ too

Pakistan-India crossing is a ‘Corridor of Hope’, UN chief says, wraps up visit with call for interfaith dialogue

Restore hope that peace will come to the Middle East, UN negotiator urges Security Council

Commission concludes that an Excessive Deficit Procedure is no longer warranted for Italy at this stage

DR Congo: days ahead ‘critical’ to ‘historic election process’ Security Council hears

Why city residents should have a say in what their cities look like

Mental disorders: a raging fire tearing apart the Moroccan society

G7: A serious setback hardly avoided in iconic Biarritz

‘Tenacious’ Kyrgyz lawyer and statelessness champion, wins prestigious UNHCR prize

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

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

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for more efforts to ensure adoption of security proposals

Libya: Heavy shelling and civilian deaths ‘blatant violation’ of international law – UN envoy

A day in the life of a refugee: the wait

What keeps me up at night? Two strategists reply

These photos show some of the world’s smallest things massively magnified

Ethical education as an obligatory course in medical curriculum

Five-year low inflation for Eurozone and now Mario has to finally wake up the Germans

World Television Day celebrates an integral part of modern life

In Pakistan, Guterres urges world to step up climate action, praises support to Afghan refugees

Environmentalists have removed nearly 40 tonnes of trash from the Pacific

Convincing the Germans to pay also for the unification of Eurozone

More Stings?

Advertising

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