Europe to the rescue – again

Eu A nudge from a supporter reminds me that I have failed to comment on an important development in Europe about our sharing the private data of people in the EU with authorities in the USA.

The European Parliament recently rejected an agreement with the United States on sharing bank data, effectively snubbing appeals from Washington for help in counter-terrorism investigations.

A nine-month interim agreement with the USA to share data went into force provisionally at the start of the month, but some in the EU Parliament opposed it on the grounds that it failed to protect the privacy of EU citizens and Washington will now have to seek other ways to access information on money transfers in Europe.

This is great news. Details of our financial transactions are private and should never be shared with other countries. Finally someone is standing up to the disproportionate invasions of privacy and freedom which bureaucrats try to justify in the name of counter-terrorism.

I also note that this is not the first occasion in recent times that British people have been dependant on Europe to defend our liberties. The British government and courts were wrong on defendants being convicted on the evidence of absent witnesses, and the European Court was right. The British government and courts were wrong on the retention of DNA samples from innocent people, and the European Court was right. The British government and courts were wrong on random stop and search, and the European Court was right.

I for one despair of us being dependent on a Court and a Parliament which have grown from a very different jurisprudential and cultural tradition to protect our rights, and for those with a sense of British liberty and freedom it feels rather shameful, doesn't it?

By Alex Deane

Hat tip: SS

Posted by on Feb 19, 2010 in Home | 3 Comments


  1. FaustiesBlog
    19th February 2010

    Might the EU ‘elite’ be more concerned about their own shady transactions coming to light?
    I can’t be anything but cynical about the motives of the EU.

  2. LeChiffre
    19th February 2010

    When Alex mentions the European Court he mentions the European Court of Human Rights which is not an EU institution. In the ECtHR the illiberal policies of the UK government are repeatedly found to be wrong. The ECtHR is an institution of the Council of Europe, which includes as full members such longstanding beacons of liberty and human rights such as Azerbaijan. I agree with Alex: the rulings are an embarrassment for the UK; but the UK has only itself to blame, while we blush.

  3. utopia76
    20th February 2010

    Its ironic that the European Parliament could only vote on this issue as the result of the Lisbon treaty. The treaty has actually given the Parliament a final say on decisions that were previously decided by the council of ministers.