MEPs ask for a new agreement on SWIFT bank data transfers to USA

By EDRi · September 23, 2009

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Deutsch: [MEPs fordern ein neues Abkommen über SWIFT-Bankdatentransfers an die USA |]

The European Parliament issued on 17 September 2009 a resolution reaffirming
the need that for the Council and EU ministers to renegotiate the agreement
to transfer bank data to the United States Treasury Department.

MEPs have previously expressed their concern for not having been involved in
the negotiation of the EU-US interim agreement on banking data transfers as
EU ministers had decided unanimously to give the European Commission a
negotiating mandate without involving the Parliament. MEPs consider this
goes against the opinion of Council’s legal service, which recommanded to
include the European Parliament in this process.

The EP resolution sets up guidelines for the new agreement in order to
ensure data protection and privacy, underlining once more that the data
should be transferred to the US authorities only for the purpose of fighting
terrorism and that the transferred data should be used or stored
proportionately to this objective.

The resolution reaffirms the “determination to fight terrorism” but also
expresses the “need to strike the right balance between security measures
and the protection of civil liberties and fundamental rights, while ensuring
the utmost respect for privacy and data protection.”

The EP believes that the transfer requests should be “based on specific,
targeted cases, limited in time and subject to judicial authorisation, and
that any subsequent processing is limited to data which disclose a link with
persons or organisations under examination in the US” and that “EU citizens
and enterprises are granted the same defence rights and procedural
guarantees and the same right of access to justice as exist in the EU and
that the legality and proportionality of the transfer requests are open to
judicial review in the US”. In order to prevent any abuse, the transferred
data should be “subject to the same judicial redress mechanisms as would
apply to data held within the EU, including compensation in the event of
unlawful processing of personal data.”

The resolution also asks for a reciprocity mechanism that would oblige the
US authorities to equally transfer relevant financial data to the competent
EU authorities, upon request.

The EP resolution did not reach consensus amoung different parliamentary
groups. The adopted resolution was rejected by the Greens (who had their own
resolution) and the left groups. The opposition to this resolution
considered the present text is not strong enough after the compromises
between different political groups. It also highlighted the fact that the
current format does not call for a stop of the current negociations.

Beatrice Ask, the Swedish Justice Minister, also stated that the new text
under negotiation with the United States will be in force for no more than
12 months.

“If we don’t get real assurances concerning the protection of (personal)
data there won’t be a deal,” said EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot who
also stated that “an immediate renegotiation will take place under the
Treaty of Lisbon”, thus giving EP the final word on the text.

SWIFT: new EU-US agreement will be renegotiated next year (17.09.2009)

European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2009 on the envisaged
international agreement to make available to the United States Treasury
Department financial payment messaging data to prevent and combat terrorism
and terrorist financing (updated 21.09.2009)

Motion on a resolution on the envisaged international agreement to make
available to the United States Treasury Department financial payment
messaging data to prevent and combat terrorism and terrorist financing –
Raül Romeva i Rueda, Jan Philipp Albrecht on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

EU poses conditions on US access to bank account info (17.09.2009)

EDRI-gram: A new SWIFT agreement under negotiation between EU and USA