News / Europe

EU Parliament Urges Blocking US Data Access After Spy Leaks

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, July 3, 2013.
Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, July 3, 2013.
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 the talks.
Both data-sharing deals - the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (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.

You May Like

US Companies Pledge Action on Climate Change

Goals include reducing emissions by as much as 50 percent, reducing water usage by 80 percent, and buying 100 percent renewable energy

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

UNICEF: Hidden Epidemic of HIV Among Adolescents

Researchers warn that Asia Pacific nations facing sharp rise in incidence of HIV among adolescents

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs