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EU Foreign Ministers treat EU Parliament with disdain - Mary Lou McDonald

17 May, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald has today reacted angrily to the news that the EU/US deal on the transfer of airline passenger data to the United States is set to get the go-ahead, despite opposition from MEPs in the EU Parliament.

Speaking today after EU Foreign Ministers accepted the proposal, Ms McDonald said:

"As recently as last week Sinn Féin had warned that the decision of the EU Parliament must be respected. The EU Parliament had voted to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice, as they believed the proposal breached existing privacy laws. What is the point of the EU Parliament a making decision, if MEPs are going to be constantly undermined?

"Today‚s decision by EU Foreign Ministers, allows the United States to retrieve 34 types of passenger data including names, addresses, phone numbers and credit card details of EU citizens travelling to the USA. The data can then be stored for a period of up to 3 ∏ years, and can be passed to third countries. This is a very worrying development, which encroaches upon the civil rights of air travellers to the US.

"The citizens of this state have not been informed as to how their personal and often sensitive data, could be used by the United States - or indeed, third countries, whom the US may decide to pass it on to.

"EU Foreign Ministers are sending out the message that they will accept Parliament decisions only if they concur with their own - or else they will be cast aside. This kind of treatment of the EU Parliament is unacceptable and undemocratic and must come to an end." ENDS

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