Ordinary Europeans’ banking data could soon be accessible to American anti-terrorist investigators, under the so-called SWIFT agreement.
This transatlantic cooperation could fall through, however, if the European Parliament in a vote this Thursday rejects a deal to share data on bank transfers.
A nine-month version came into force on February 1.
The European Commission has promised a permanent deal will fairly balance security and civil liberties, but some MEPs are wary.
“The main concerns of the proposed interim agreement is that we do talk about bulk transfers, so the transfer of data of 500 million European citizens to the US. I’m in favour of targeted data exchange in the fight against terrorism but this proposal is actually disproportionate.”
A centre-left coalition of liberal-democrats, socialists, greens and MEPs from further left, plus renegade German and Austrian conservatives have so far formed the anti-SWIFT camp, calling for stronger safeguards.
Euronews’s Dulce Dias, in Strasbourg, says: “The SWIFT US-EU agreement on data transfer touches on a couple of raw nerves: security and privacy. The European Parliament is trying to find a compromise.”