* Parliament questions U.S.-EU data sharing deals
* Anger in Europe after Snowden leaks
* Transatlantic trade talks should proceed, assembly says
By Claire Davenport
BRUSSELS, July 4 The European Parliament called
on Thursday for the scrapping of two agreements granting the
United States access to European financial and travel data
unless Washington reveals the extent of its electronic spying
operations in Europe.
A non-binding resolution, passed by 483 votes to 98 with 65
abstentions, said the United States should come clean about its
surveillance of email and communications data or risk seeing the
transatlantic information-sharing deals, created in the wake of
the Sept. 11 attacks, torn up.
The parliament cannot revoke the agreements without the
support of European Union governments and the bloc's executive
Commission, which looks unlikely.
But the vote showed the depth of anger within the assembly
over revelations from former spy agency contractor Edward
Snowden about U.S. electronic eavesdropping on allies.
Calls from some members of the parliament to suspend talks
on a EU-U.S. free trade deal, due to start next week, were
rejected, however. The trade deal will be negotiated by the
European Commission on behalf of the 28-nation bloc, but the
parliament can veto the final agreement, giving it leverage in
Both data-sharing deals - the Terrorist Finance Tracking
Programme (TFTP) and Passenger Name Records (PNR) - were struck
in the last decade, despite misgivings in parliament that they
would grant the United States excessive access to European data.
The TFTP provides the U.S. Treasury with data stored in
Europe on international financial transfers. The PNR agreement
covers data provided by passengers when booking tickets and
checking in on flights, and passes the information to the
Department of Homeland Security.
Last month, U.S. officials confirmed the existence of an
electronic spying operation codenamed PRISM, which according to
Snowden collects data from European and other users of Google
, Facebook, Skype and other U.S. companies.
In a separate leak, the United States was accused of
eavesdropping on EU offices and officials.
While many EU countries reacted angrily to the spying
revelations, France was the only one that initially called for
the suspension of the trade talks.
On Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande said the
trade talks could proceed as planned, after the EU and United
States agreed to hold parallel talks to clarify the extent of
U.S. surveillance operations.
The European Commission has asked the United States to
reveal how much data it has access to and for what purpose. A
joint EU-U.S. expert group will be set up to discuss the matter.