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EU, US sign terror finance deal

Europe and the United States on Monday signed a new deal allowing Washington to access bank data to track terrorist finance after easing European concerns about privacy rights.



Brussels: Europe and the United States on Monday
signed a new deal allowing Washington to access bank data to
track terrorist finance after easing European concerns about
privacy rights.

The agreement now needs the green light from the European
parliament, which had blocked an initial deal in February,
barring the US from seeing the bank data since then.

"This is a very, very strong agreement, we are very proud
of it," Michael Dodman, the charge d`affaires of the US
mission to the EU, said after signing the deal.

"It is very important to the security of the United
States and Europe," Dodman said, noting that the lack of an
agreement had created a "security gap."

Cecilia Malmstroem, the EU commissioner for home affairs,
said she was "quite optimistic" that the parliament would
approve the new deal next week and that it would come into
force August 1.

In February, European lawmakers blocked a key agreement
of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme that allowed US
access to information from the interbank money transfer system
SWIFT to track suspect finances.

Their main concern was that personal information,
including data from electronic bank payments, would be used by
US authorities, held for too long and handed on to other
governments.

But conservative and socialist lawmakers, who make up the
top two blocs in the European parliament, indicated today that
they supported the changes made to the programme.

"It is the duty of the EU and the US to cooperate in
protecting citizens from terrorism, but citizens have also the
right to be protected against excessive state intrusion into
their lives and potential mistakes," Martin Schulz, head of
the Socialists and Democrats, said in a statement.

PTI

From Zee News

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