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SWIFT: Marie-Christine Vergiat denounces a new attack on people's fundamental rights

Date

22 Sep 2009

Following the plenary vote on SWIFT* in the European Parliament, Marie-Christine Vergiat, French GUE/NGL MEP, found it regrettable that a majority of members of the European Parliament voted ** against the amendment proposed by the group requiring the suspension of the agreement with the United States if they did not respect fundamental rights and protection of personal data.

The MEP deplores the manner the Council and Commission started new negotiations with the United States on the transfer of banking data via the financial network SWIFT, without informing the European Parliament, and questioned: "Why did the European authorities take so long to inform Parliament and why is there such haste needed concluding a new agreement?"

Moreover, the European expert charged by the Commission with overseeing this agreement is none other than the French antiterrorist judge, Bruguière. "We are sceptical on the quality of the report presented by the judge given his previous slippages regarding fundamental rights", added Marie-Christine Vergiat.

During the debate, Marie-Christine Vergiat underlined that "SWIFT was symptomatic of the security side slips imposed in the name of fighting terrorism that overlooked the fundamental rights of our fellow citizens". She concluded: "Our fellow-citizens are entitled to safety, but this must be secured without us being obliged to live in a big brother society."

GUE/NGL notes that the Swedish Presidency stated that the agreement with the United States would not be signed if sufficient guarantees were not ensured by the American government.

* The banking data piracy by the American administration was revealed in June 2006. In October 2007, SWIFT announced that a new message transmission system would be operational at the end of 2009 and this would mean that most financial data transferred by SWIFT to the United States would no longer be made available of the American "Terrorist Finance Alignment program (TFTP)". Due to this, the EU decided to negotiate an agreement with the United States to continue the transfer of the SWIFT data.

** GUE/NGL did not support the common resolution of the EPP, the Social Democrats (S&D) and the Liberals (ALDE), because the guarantees regarding respect of protection of personal data and fundamental rights are insufficient, at the same time the violation of personal data increases continually.

GUE/NGL Press

Gianfranco Battistini +32 475 64 66 28
Nathalie Mazraani + 32 2832580

www.guengl.eu

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