EU parliament demands suspension of financial data sharing deal with US over spying

STRASBOURG: The European Parliament has voted to suspend a financial transactions information-sharing agreement with the United States over US National Security Agency spying activities.

Some 280 members of the parliament voted in favor of the resolution, 254 voted against while 30 members abstained from voting.

“The EU should suspend its Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) agreement with the US in response to the US National Security Agency’s alleged tapping of EU citizens’ bank data held by the Belgian company SWIFT,” the parliament said in the resolution.

However, the resolution is symbolic, not binding. The European Commission and the various EU governments will still need to approve a suspension of US access to SWIFT.

The parliament said that it “will take account of the European Commission’s response to this demand when considering whether to give its consent to future international agreements.”

Moreover, the European lawmakers also called on EU member states to launch an investigation into the reports on the US espionage involving SWIFT.

The TFTP agreement, finalized between the European Union and the United States in 2010, allowed the US limited access to the global financial database SWIFT as part of an anti-terrorism campaign.

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