For the first time, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have re-opened an international deal struck between the European Union and the United States.
The deal – known as “Swift” or the “Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme” (TFTP) – would have given American officials unrestricted access to data on the personal banking transactions of EU citizens.
The deal had been signed and sealed by the European Commission earlier in June.
But not delivered. In last-minute negotiations between MEPs and EU ambassadors, MEPs have produced an unprecedented result.
Claude Moraes MEP, S&D Group Spokesman on Civil Liberties, led his group on this renegotiation and said: “This is the first time ever that an agreement with the US – already initialled – has been reopened”.
“The credit for this goes to the pressure mounted by the European Parliament.”
Claude Moraes MEP added that, thanks to MEPs, the EU now has direct oversight of the way its data is used in the TFTP. He and his S&D Group have struck the correct balance between protecting citizens against terrorism and protecting citizens against the erosion of their rights.
MEPs will now table amendments – expected to pass early in July – with a new, better deal in place at the start of August.
The new deal includes more EU oversight and initial steps towards the EU’s own TFTP programme.
Claude Moraes MEP commented: “The sharing of banking information can be invaluable in investigating terrorist groups, but it has to be used wisely, and the deal we have reached strikes the right balance.”
“Intelligence services will always push for access to more and more data, but it is the targeted use of this information that will actually help tackle this type of crime.”
This is the first time the European Parliament has re-opened and re-drafted an international agreement set in motion by the European Commission.