23 April 2010
Following today's political agreement at the Council to adopt a mandate for the European Commission to negotiate a long term agreement with the US on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data in the framework of the Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme (TFTP), Commissioner Malmström stated:
"I welcome today's political agreement on the mandate. My intention is now to start exploratory talks with the US at the beginning of May and move quickly once the mandate is officially adopted.
The mandate includes significant data protection guarantees such as a strict counter terrorism purpose limitation and appropriate redress mechanisms on a non-discriminatory basis. The EU will also have the right to terminate the Agreement in the event of breach of any of the data protection safeguards.
All along the negotiation process I intend to respect in full the commitment I took vis-à-vis the European Parliament and the European citizens: to keep up the fight against terrorism, while at the same time ensuring respect for fundamental rights, notably guaranteeing EU citizens' privacy and data protection.
'This matter is very urgent. We know that there is a clear security gap since January of this year because TFTP data stored in Europe are no longer made available to the US Treasury Department, so the aim is to arrive at a signed agreement as soon as possible, preferably before the end of June.
The Commission as European Union Negotiator will ensure that the Council and the European Parliament, as well as the designated Special Committee, are duly and fully informed throughout the negotiation process".