28 June 2010
The EU and the United States signed the so called TFTP agreement in Brussels today, following the adoption by the Council last week. EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who was in charge of the negotiations from the EU's side, was present during the signing ceremony.
Spain's Minister of Interior Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and the Chargé d'affaires of the US Mission to the EU Michael Dodman signed the agreement during a joint press conference. Michael Dodman underlined that the agreement is "very strong", and that it is important for the security of both the United States and Europe at the same time as it furthers the transatlantic relations.
"This is an important instrument in order to combat terrorism", emphasized Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.
In the debate on the TFTP agreement (Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme), the European Parliament has had some objections – among other things arguing that there has been insufficient protection of the integrity of EU citizens. However, both Rubalcaba and Malmström underlined that the European Parliament objections had been taken into account in the agreement that has now been signed.
"This agreement ensures protection of personal data while maintaining a counter-terrorism programme that has saved lives and will continue to save lives in the US, in Europe and elsewhere as well", said Cecilia Malmström.
It is now up to the European Parliament to decide on the future of the TFTP agreement. A majority of the MEP's must approve of the text in order for the agreement to enter into force. The next possibility for the European Parliament to vote is during the plenary session on 5-8 July.