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EU Parliament Rejects Bank Data Deal with US

The European parliament has blocked an agreement allowing US authorities to access European banking data for use in terror investigations.

EU lawmakers rejected the deal, by a vote of 378 to 196, Thursday in Strasbourg, France.

Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said the assembly wants more data privacy protection to ensure that civil liberties and fundamental rights would be protected.

The US mission in Brussels said the outcome is a setback for US - EU counter-terrorism cooperation.

Without the deal, the United States must now rely on individual agreements with EU member nations in order to access information, such as European bank transfers.

The United States has been examining European financial data handled by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions, or SWIFT, since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

But SWIFT plans to move some of its data bases from the United States to Europe, and without a new deal, U.S. investigators will be limited under strict EU laws, that restrict the gathering of data to U.S. citizens alone.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.