Thursday, 17 June 2004

Europarl party leaders endorse challenge to PNR agreement and adequacy finding

Later in the day yesterday, 16 June 2004, a majority of the presidents of parties in the European Parliament reportedly voted to endorse the JURI Committee’s request to the Europarl President to seek the annulment by the European Court of Justice of the European Commission (EC) agreement for the the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to access PNR data from the European Union under certain conditions, and the EC finding that that this data would be “adequately” protected if those conditions are met (which they have not been, which means that the access currently being given to the DHS is unequivically in violation of EU law).

While the vote of the Council of Presidents of parties isn’t binding on the President of the European Parliament, MEP Pat Cox of Ireland, it is a sign of the strong feeling in Parliament, and of the potential embasassment to Cox and his party allies if he refers the issue back to the new Parliament and they reaffirm the repeated votes by the outgoing Parliament to challenge the EC actions in the Court of Justice.

Perhaps the most significant statement came from Liberal Democrat Graham Watson, head of the largest party bloc of MEP’s, who said the call for legal action to annul the EC decisions was, “a reaction to the contempt for the rule of law that Council has displayed by adopting an agreement which privacy watchdogs and MEPs have said contravenes European law. This is not just a question of prerogatives of the European Parliament, but it is most importantly a question of protecting our citizens’ right to privacy.”

Link | Posted by Edward on Thursday, 17 June 2004, 11:07 (11:07 AM)
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