EU-US: Informal High Level meeting on freedom, security and justice on 2-3 March in Vienna

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The minutes of this high-level meeting show the US input/interest on substantial issues of EU policy-making. Of particular interest are:

1. "US side indicated that it was considering approaching each [EU] Member State to ensure that the data collected on the basis of the recently adopted Directive on data retention be accessible to them". This is the measure which will enable the surveillance of all phone-calls, e-mails, faxes, mobile phone-calls and internet usage.

2. "US side expressed serious concern about the negative impact that the draft Framework Decision on data protection would have on its bilateral relations with Member states if it was to be adopted in its present form". This is a reference to Article 15 of the proposed measure referring to "an adequate level of protection is ensured in the third country" - which raises yet again the fact that there is no protection for non-US citizens. The EU side at the meeting clearly sought to meet this point by saying that: "Member States were divided on the need for such a provision".

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