Thursday 4 February 2010

Hillary Clinton, thanks for letting our MEPs decide on their own!

It is an absolute impudence that Hillary Clinton calls Jerzy Buzek, the European Parliament president, (confirmed by him on Twitter*) to pressure on him to make MEPs reject the SWIFT agreement!

This follows direct pressure on MEPs by US diplomatic authorities in Brussels, but still couldn't stop the EP Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home affairs to agree today (result: 29 to 23) on a recommendation to withhold consent to the SWIFT agreement.

But the terror-crazy American authorities who want to desperately access our banking data, undermining privacy rights and data protection standards, will continue playing their fear stories until next week in order to force on the plenary to still agree to SWIFT, despite the negative recommendation by the committee and by the rapporteur.

I can only hope our MEPs will stand firm and follow the recommendation of both their rapporteur and their committee.

In the end, this is an absolute undue interference into the democratic affairs of a democratically elected body, and I urge the US to mind their own business before they pressure on our representatives in ways that go beyond the acceptable!

*Update (00:15): As Jon Worth noted on Twitter, the tweet in which Buzek confirmed he had spoken to Clinton was deleted for unknown reasons. Since Nambu, the programme that I use to read Twitter, doesn't erase tweets when they are erased on Twitter I could just do the following screen shot of the tweet that was sent out around 22h:

See also: Jon Worth's critical reaction to this post and my comment in which I disagree. And Europaeum who has another screen shot of the tweet.

Read also Basteiro who is now (Friday around noon) telling that the Buzek people deny the tweet has never existed although several people noticed it, and I saw it on Nambu as well as on the Twitter page to get the link you find at the beginning that now leads to an empty page.


Brussels Blogger said...

Julien, thanks for this clear words!

It maybe necessary to remind that for example in Germany not only the government's data protection officer but also the justice minister have clearly spoken out against this SWIFT agreement.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

I agree with Jon. The only thing exceptional here seems to be that Buzek tweeted about it (which is a fine thing in terms of openness).

I'm can't really work out how sincere your surprise is? If it is sincere I'm surprised you don't think this sort of stuff happens all the time? Just watch the ambassador of country X schmoozing with MPs and senior civil servants of country Y at any function - and that's in public! Behind closed doors is when they start threatening people.

Julien Frisch said...

Toby, I am not naïve and I am well aware that this happens. And Clinton can do whatever she wants and she can make her diplomatic service whatever she wants.

But in this particular case the way they are working is far beyond the acceptable to me, and there I agree with Europaeum. There is a difference between meeting with MEPs and convincing them in favour of a decision that lies in your interests and meetings in which representatives of one country are changing from convincing to threatening - and some of the reports look strongly like this kind of change happened.

I don't want foreign authorities to threaten our elected officials working within the borders of our Union or our member states. That is a principle, and I would never want EU representatives to do the same. Especially not, when the decision is about our data, not about the data of the country putting pressure on us.

But do I think that because I think its morally wrong to work the way Americans work in this particular issue that I think this doesn't ever happen? No - it's just a good occasion that we don't have to tolerate everything!

Unknown said...

Julien, SWIFT is going to be posted on the FB page of the Parliament. You opinion is more than welcome! Thank you,

Brussels Blogger said...

The very problem here is really the content: the US administration threatens to bypass the EU level (and its institutions) by saying that in case of a no they would pressure each and every EU member state to make a bilaterial agreement.

The is beyond normal lobbying and should be rejected.

See also here: Why MEPS must reject the SWIFT agreement