Parliament asks for the termination of EU-US bank data deal

European Parliament, plenary session in Strasbourg, week 43, 2013. Vote by a show of hands. (EP Audiovisual Services, 23/10/2013).

European Parliament, plenary session in Strasbourg, week 43, 2013. Vote by a show of hands. (EP Audiovisual Services, 23/10/2013).

The European Parliament finally voted in favour of the suspension of EU-US bank data deal, in response to NSA snooping. “The EU should suspend its Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) agreement with the US in response to the US National Security Agency‘s alleged tapping of EU citizens’ bank data held by the Belgian company SWIFT”, said a non-binding resolution voted by Parliament yesterday.

The Parliamentary debate over this issue was launched in the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) of the Parliament on 24 September. On that occasion the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström informed the MEPs that she had not 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”. All this was reported by the European Sting on 4 October.

The LIBE Committee

The discussion in the LIBE Committee continued on 9 October. The MEPs resumed their debate whether the SWIFT agreement should be suspended, following the revelations about NSA surveillance. However, according to a Press release issued after that meeting, the climate was completely different from 24 September discussion and the Committee appeared divided.

This was evident in the text of the Press release issued after the LIBE meeting. It went like this, “US surveillance of the internet: major threat to people’s privacy or a storm in a tea cup? Opinions have been divided in discussions on our social media platforms….The Parliament conducts an inquiry to discover the truth about the revelations by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden… European Parliament fans on our Google page also showed themselves to be sceptical”.

Then, the Press release added that somebody asked on that Google page, “Are we so naive as to believe it’s just the Americans? Are you cleaner than clean, EU?” MEP Mogens Camre went as far as to say that, “The truth is that we Europeans cannot defend ourselves against terror in our territory, without the support of information from friendly countries.”

The plenary decided

As a result, the LIBE Committee didn’t formulate a decision, to be debated and voted upon in the plenary Parliament of 23 October. Given this obvious void, three major Parliamentary parties had to intervene. The S&D, ALDE and Greens/EFA groups tabled a resolution in yesterday’s plenary asking that “the EU should suspend its Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) agreement with the US”. The resolution was passed by the House with 280 votes to 254 and 30 abstentions.

In this way, the sceptical MEPs of the LIBE Committee were clearly sidestepped. On top of that, the resolution of the Plenary in a way ‘orders’ the Civil Liberties Committee, “to continue the special inquiry into the mass surveillance of EU citizens and look into the allegations”. Seemingly, the House was not at all happy with the work done by the LIBE Committee.

The Parliament mandates the Commission

Those who oppose the suspension of this EU-US Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP), point out gloatingly that according to the Treaty of the European Union, this resolution of the European Parliament is not binding. This might be so, but they forget that the Parliament can, and did mandate the Commission to ask the Council to seek the termination of the EU-US TFTP programme. “The Commission will have to act if Parliament withdraws its support for a particular agreement”, says the text of the resolution approved yesterday. It adds that the “Parliament will take account of the Commission’s response to this demand, when considering whether to give its consent to future international agreements”.

In view of all that, the Commission will very probably act, and ask the Council to withdraw from the deal. “If media reports are true this constitutes a breach of the agreement and a breach of the agreement can lead to suspension,” Commissioner Malmström pointed out on Tuesday 24 September while speaking at the LIBE Committee. She also clarified that, “If the Commission deemed it necessary to propose a suspension, “this should be decided by qualified majority in the Council”. The Sting reported that on 4 October also.

Then, the issue will surely land on the table of the Council of the EU member state ministers. Or, possibly, it will end up on the agenda of the last 2013 Summit of the 28 heads of states and governments. Irrespective of the final outcome, just the fact that the suspension of EU-US bank data deal will be discussed in the EU Council, is enough of a blow to the US. It will be also a lesson to those MEPs of the LIBE Committee, who cynically wanted to void the issue as ‘a storm in a tea cup’.

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

Threats from mammoth banks and Brussels fuel May’s poll rates

Medical Devices Regulation: Commission welcomes Council support to prioritise the fight against coronavirus

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

Russia and the EU ‘trade’ natural gas supplies and commercial concessions in and out of Ukraine

Bitpay @ TheNextWeb 2014: Innovation’s Best Friend

Yemen: Escalation in fighting must stop ‘before it’s too late’, Griffiths tells Security Council

How to have a good Fourth Industrial Revolution

Plants, the ‘core basis for life on Earth’, under increasing threat, warns UN food agency

Business can be profitable AND drive progress on societal priorities

An analysis of the impacts of climate change on human health

Parliament to vote on new European Commission on 27 November

Trade protectionism and cartels threaten democracy

Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

Here’s what happened when one Guatemalan town went to war on plastic waste

How blockchain can manage the future electricity grid

Gender equality, justice in law and practice: Essential for sustainable development

We can save the Arctic if we follow the Nordic countries’ lead

African cities will double in population by 2050. Here are 4 ways to make sure they thrive

Each for Equal is the women’s day theme – these maps of the world show how far we have to go

A new catastrophic phase in the Syrian carnage

Modern society has reached its limits. Society 5.0 will liberate us

The 13th round of TTIP negotiations hits a wall of intense protests and growing concerns

Dual Food Quality: Commission releases study assessing differences in the composition of EU food products

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

You might soon be travelling without a passport – this is how

Don’t dismiss start-ups founded by millennials. This is how they succeed

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

Preparing medical students being digitally as well as socially responsible

Why COVID-19 makes a compelling case for the wider integration of blockchain

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Piracy and high seas crime growing, becoming more sophisticated, UN Security Council told

Tsipras imposes more austerity on insolvent Greece; plans to win new early election soon

Major UN aid operation for 650,000 gets underway across Syria-Jordan border

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

Better air pollution data is helping us all breathe easier. Here’s how

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

A Sting Exclusive: Towards better business opportunities for the EU and its neighbours, Commissioner Hahn live from European Business Summit 2015

Guterres lauds UN peacekeeping, highlights need to bridge ‘critical’ gaps

Making Europe’s businesses future-ready: A new Industrial Strategy for a globally competitive, green and digital Europe

Coronavirus: Commission concludes talks to secure future coronavirus vaccine for Europeans

UN food agency appeals for access to key storage facility amid fight for Hudaydah

A ‘system value’ approach can accelerate the energy transition. Here’s how

Security of 5G networks: EU Member States complete national risk assessments

The EU tells the bare truth to the UK that there is no such thing as easy divorces

Seven trends shaping the future of the mining and metals industry

European financial values on the rise

African continent ‘an example of solidarity’ towards migrants and refugees: UN chief

The ITU Telecom World on 14-17 November in Bangkok, Thailand

Stress, overtime, disease, contribute to 2.8 million workers’ deaths per year, reports UN labour agency

These are the next big products in consumer technology

What’s behind South Korea’s elderly crime wave?

‘Being open about my mental health created a better work culture’

Cancer is a growing global threat and prevention is key, UN study shows

We can’t tell if we’re closing the digital divide without more data

Rising inequality affecting more than two-thirds of the globe, but it’s not inevitable: new UN report

2018 Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Maria Ressa of the Philippines

China’s 13th Five Year Plan and the opportunities for Europe

90% of fish stocks are used up – fisheries subsidies must stop

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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