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EP votes against the EU-US provisional agreement on transfer of bank data for counter-terrorism purposes

11 February 2010

The Commission respects the decision taken by the European Parliament today to reject the Interim "SWIFT" (Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme - TFTP) Agreement. The Commission regrets the fact that the highly valuable information that this instrument would have provided for the fight against terrorism will not be available. The Commission will need to explore with the United States Treasury Department the extent to which there is scope to negotiate a long term EU-US TFTP agreement.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström stated: "I remain convinced that the programme enhances the security of our citizens: it would be the role of the Commission to make sure that all the relevant safeguards for EU citizens' privacy and data protection are duly included in any possible future agreement. In spite of this set back, I hope we will be able to agree a text in the near future that will give us greater security, more data protection and a useful cooperation tool with US authorities. Following today's vote in the European Parliament, we will have now to reflect together with our US partners on the possible negotiation of a new agreement. My hope is to achieve a new agreement with very ambitious safeguards for privacy and data protection. This way I believe we can build trust in the system used for tracking terrorist finances, and gain wide support for it on both sides of the Atlantic. We need to cooperate with our US partners in order to fight terrorism effectively, and enhance security for our citizens. This must be done - and can be done - while ensuring the protection of civil liberties and fundamental rights."