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EU lawmakers vote to halt US financial data-sharing

AFP | Last Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 21:11

Strasbourg: The European Parliament voted Wednesday to suspend cooperation with Washington in a financial data-sharing deal in response to allegations of US spying revealed by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

"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," said the resolution passed by 280 votes to 254, with 30 abstentions.

The resolution is non-binding, but the Parliament underlined 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."

The European Union and the United States agreed in 2010 a Terrorist Financing Tracking Program which allows access to SWIFT banking data as part of the fight against terrorism.

But according to revelations by Snowden, SWIFT, the global interbank transfer network, was a target of wider US surveillance.

MEPs also urged EU states to launch an inquiry into the alleged SWIFT spying.

Faced with public outrage over Snowden`s claims that the US has been systematically spying on its allies, Brussels warned in July that it was ready "to reconsider" key anti-terrorist data-sharing deals with Washington.

Following up on the latest Snowden leaks this week, French daily Le Monde said it stood by its report that millions of phone calls in France were monitored by the NSA, despite claims from the United States that the information was inaccurate.

French President Francois Hollande is to raise the issue at a summit of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday, although a diplomat from another big EU state said leaders were unlikely to get into areas of "national security" in Brussels.

First Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 21:11
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