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Lib Dem MEPs use Lisbon Treaty to safeguard citizens' privacy

July 30, 2010 6:00 AM
The European Parliament building in Strasbourg (European Commission Audiovisual Library)

The MEPs used Lisbon to stop national governments revealing EU citizens bank account details to the USA

The European Parliament has approved a reworked EU-US agreement on access to European citizens' banking data for the tracking of terrorist finance, after rejecting an interim deal in February on the grounds that it insufficiently safeguarded privacy. Work to improve the data protection safeguards, such as shorter storage times and stronger supervision and redress rights, was led by MEPs from the ALDE (Lib Dem) group.

Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson commented: "The anniversary of the 7/7 bombings focused everyone's minds on the need to work together to tackle terrorism. However, in seeking to win this fight, we must not sacrifice our commitment to democracy and civil liberties; otherwise we will lose the war before the battle is even over. Using the new Lisbon Treaty powers, MEPs were able to stop EU governments transferring private bank data to the US in bulk."

"The Liberals and Democrats successfully negotiated a package that balances security and EU privacy standards. We can now confidently get on with tackling those individuals who threaten our liberties."