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"Absurd and unconstitutional" SWIFT deal to face ECJ challenge


08 Jul 2010

Deploring the European Parliament's approval of the EU-US financial data agreement (SWIFT), as "a violation of the fundamental rights of innocent Europeans", GUE/NGL MEP Rui Tavares said that the content of the agreement essentially remained the same since MEPs rejected it five months ago and vowed to challenge the deal in the European Court of Justice.


"Many privacy protection questions remain unanswered. This parliament refused to sanction bulk data transfers for the first time in February when it threw out the SWIFT agreement. We reaffirmed this position again in May with a resolution that stated clearly that bulk data transfers were illegal. For the third time, they were put back on the table and the big political groups have caved in to the American lobby and decided that it is now acceptable to transfer 90 million pieces of data per month - 1 billion a year - to US authorities" Tavares said, criticising the parliamentary majority for " hijacking Parliament's Legal Service to prevent a GUE/NGL request for the service to give an opinion on the agreement".


The deal also means that the Europol agency will act as the approval authority for requests from U.S. investigators.


"Putting Europol in this position is absurd, illegal and unconstitutional. This agency has no role in data protection and has a clear interest in the results of any transfers. We will challenge this violation of citizens' rights in the courts and if declared illegal, the citizens of Europe will want to know where their elected representatives were and why they voted for an illegal deal."


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