UPDATED: EXCLUSIVE: EU-USA SWIFT AGREEMENT: European Commission: Full-text of agreement on the transfer of all financial transactions in the EU to the USA


European Commission: Full-text of agreement on the transfer of all financial transactions in the EU to the USA: Agreement between the EU and the USA on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data from the EU to the USA for purposes of the Terroist Finance Tracking Program (11 June 2010, pdf):

Earlier Draft: Agreement between the European Union and the USA on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data from the EU to the USA for the purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (pdf)

When Commissioner Mallstrom gave a presentation on the proposed agreement to the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) on 10 June 2010 substantial reservations were raised by MEPs. At the core of MEPs concerns is Article 12 (Monitoring of Safeguards and Controls) for individuals thought by US agencies to be involved in "the terrorism nexus". Financial data from the EU is opened and searched by US agencies using specialists "tools" (highly sophisticated computer programmes) - which only the USA has access to. In simple terms US agencies get a "packet" of personal financial data from the EU which they "open" and then "select" the data on specific names. But the EU cannot check the names selected - as it has no access to the "tools" - and therefore cannot exercise its right to "safeguards" and "controls" by "blocking" the inclusion of specific individuals. MEPs were adamant that the EU must have this power if they were to accept the Agreement.

A second, related concern is which EU agency should conduct judicial control over the US's use of data in order to protect the rights of the individual. While Europol (the EU police agency) gathers intelligence on terrorism it is argued the Eurojust (composed of national prosecutors, magistrates, or police officers of equivalent competence, detached from each Member State according to their own legal systems) is much better placed to enforce EU standards of data protection and privacy. This is particularly so because Eurojust can call on EU and national powers to protect those wrongly caught up in the US-defined "terrorist nexus".

The Commission thinks that having briefed MEPs on the LIBE Committee of the EP that it can simply agree the text presented. The next stage is the formal adoption of the proposed Agreement (which represents the EU-USA position) by the European Commission on 15 June - it will then be formally forwarded for agreement to the Council of the European Union (the 27 governments) and the European Parliament. In February the European Parliament rejected a proposed Interim Agreement on SWIFT and it due to agree its position again at a plenary session in July - and if the text remains the same it may well reject it again.

Background: Statewatch coverage of SWIFT (Google search, link)

 

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