GroenLinks contests accord with US

10th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

10 July 2007, BRUSSELS – Green-left GroenLinks wants the European Parliament to go to the European Court of Justice to contest Europe's handing over of passenger data to the US.

10 July 2007

BRUSSELS – Green-left GroenLinks wants the European Parliament to go to the European Court of Justice to contest Europe's handing over of passenger data to the US.

Faction leader in the EP Kathalijne Buitenweg said on Monday that she wants to contest the substance of a recent EU-US accord.

She thinks it scandalous that the US will be allowed to keep a lot of private information, like credit card numbers, for a great number of aims and agencies for 15 years.

The European Parliament went to the EU Court a few years ago to protest the previous accord. The Court ruled at the time that the legal form of the accord was incorrect. As a result of this decision however the court did not come to any verdict on the contents of the accord.

The European Parliament will vote on Thursday on a resolution on flight passengers' information. Democrats D66 MEP Sophie in 't Veld, who is involved in finding a compromise on the matter, is sceptical.

"Lawyers tell me that the chance of winning a court case on this is very slim," says In 't Veld. "I would rather reach a good structural arrangement. Because we still have to talk about the handing over of European bank and telecom data and who knows what else to the US."

During a debate with EU commissioner for justice Franco Frattini the Dutch MEPs criticised the accord sharply. In 't Veld objected to the assurance from Frattini that the rights of citizens will be safeguarded.

Legally however citizens have little certainty. In 't Veld: "I think this accord is a real disaster. It is an insult to our intelligence. This parliament may not have any authority on this point, but I am not stupid."

Liberal VVD MP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert also expressed displeasure. "I do not understand why the EU is letting itself be pushed into such submissive role to the US. This accord is far from good."

Frattini defended the accord by pointing out that if no agreement had been reached with the US, European airlines would have been imposed conditions unilaterally by the US authorities.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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