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Europe and US reconcile strong anti-terror approach and respect for privacy

1 December 2016

Europe and US reconcile strong anti-terror approach and respect for privacy

The European Parliament has today approved an agreement between the EU and the US on the exchange of personal data to combat terrorism and organized crime.

The European Parliament has today approved an agreement between the EU and the US on the exchange of personal data to combat terrorism and organized crime. ECR MEP Helga Stevens, who was a shadow rapporteur on this dossier, reacted satisfied: “Never before have Europe and the US reached such a high level of protection in the field of data exchange. This agreement will strengthen cooperation and enforcement. Data protection and the fight against terrorism certainly do not stand in each other’s way.”

This umbrella agreement between the EU and the US lays down the rules for the exchange of personal data relating to the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offenses. “Both Europe and the US are still targets of terror. Cooperation and exchange of such data are crucial for the protection of our society. These exchanges can and must be done in a decent way, with respect for our European values, including the protection of privacy,” said Stevens.

Stevens stresses that this agreement will provide additional protection compared to existing agreements concerning data exchange, such as PNR (data of air passengers) or TFTP (bank details of suspects). “It is a major achievement that EU citizens now have access to legal proceedings when their rights have been violated. To ensure that, the United States Congress adopted in February the ‘Judicial Redress Act’. This is a big step forward.”

Critics are still trying to torpedo this agreement by asking to submit it to the European Court of Justice. “That’s nothing more than a misplaced delaying tactic. A possible delay would only cause the current situation to persist, which is much worse. In addition, the agreement will be constantly monitored and evaluate, and the agreement shall only enter into force once the new American administration has fully adopted it.”

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