Thursday 21 January 2010

European Parliament to vote on EU-USA TFTP (SWIFT) interim Agreement (Updated)

After yesterday’s debate in the European Parliament it looks like the EP and the Council have found a way forward, at least with regard to the procedure to follow. See the EP’s press release: SWIFT: European Parliament to vote soon on the interim agreement (20 January 2010).

The European Parliament will vote on the interim agreement and it will be allowed to participate fully in the drafting of the long term agreement, according to the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Council’s explanations about delays caused by translation sound a bit fishy, because the interim agreement should have existed in all the official EU languages on 30 November 2009, when it was adopted by the Council, and it was published in the Official Journal of the European Union 13 January 2010. If a draft or aims for the long term agreement exist, one would expect at least an English language version to be available.

The European Parliament has previously stated its concerns regarding fundamental rights. Now it looks as if it is going to be able to check how the Council intends to meet them.

Update 21 January 2010, about 17:05 EET: The EP's press release has been updated. The vote has now been scheduled for 9 February 2010.

Ralf Grahn

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  1. This news has to be welcomed. Whether the EP can/will rise to the challenge is, of course, open. It is a real opportunity for the EP to show that they can be both responsive to their constituents and responsible in their actions.

    Their success/failure will show whether they are worth the increased power granted to them.

  2. French Derek,

    I don't want to prejudge the outcome with regard to how security and other fundamental rights should be balanced, but the principles of representative democracy and parliamentary scrutiny are profoundly important, and this is one of the issues where the Lisbon Treaty actually brings some progress in the interest of EU citizens.


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