Yorktown redux

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

 The following is an updated version of our report “EU waves white flag” published on 29 March 2012.

EUROPE CAVES IN TO AMERICA

In their never-ceasing quest for more and more independent states to surrender their national sovereignty in exchange for “ever closer homogenisation” within the strait-jacket of the European Union, the Brussels-based Euro-elite  invariably holds out the invariably specious promise that these states will have more clout on the world stage in an EU that can punch its weight alongside the big boys.

The reality is otherwise.

Take the EU’s reaction to the demand by the Americans – pathologically obsessed with national security since they failed egregiously to protect their “homeland” from terrorist attack in 2001 –  that the European authorities provide them with an extensive batch of intrusive personal data on every EU citizen that flies into or out of the United States. The information includes names, addresses, credit card and phone numbers, meal choices and health matters. The aim is to smoke out potential terrorists.

Stringent laws exist in the EU to protect personal data and at first it looked as if Europe might have the guts to stand up to the Americans. In 2007 the European Parliament rejected an initial proposal to give the USA whatever it wanted.

Bully for the European Parliament, cried the defenders of Europe’s data protection laws.

Too soon!

On 27 March 2012 the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs approved a new text that will give the Americans just what they want.

On 19 April 2012 the resulting bill was rubber-stamped by the full parliament by 409 votes to 226.

The text was railroaded through the committee against the express wishes of one of its own vice-chairs, Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in’t Veld, who reportedly believes that the new version does not comply with EU data protection laws.

In the vote in the European Parliament on 19 April 2012 Dutch Sophie in ‘t Veld opposed the bill.

“This agreement unfortunately does not meet our standards, it does not protect the rights of European citizens, they do not have adequate means of legal redress, and therefore unfortunately we cannot adopt this agreement,” she is quoted as saying.

According to a BBC report on 19 April 2012, other MEPs opposing the bill say the proposals leave too many unanswered questions, such as how the US will use the information, how long it will keep it for and who will have access to it.

However, the leader of British Tory MEPs in the European Parliament, Martin Callanan, backed the bill. According to the BBC, he said: “We’ve seen numerous attempts to blow up transatlantic airliners in recent years. How stupid would we look if we had the chance to stop one of these things, and one of the terrorists actually got through, so we have to err on the side of public safety on this.”

According to the 29 March 2012 edition of French newspaper Le Monde, committee members ignored the views of their vice-chair on the grounds that the US was not prepared to make any further concessions.

“OK, you won’t make any further concessions, so we give in. Here’s our white flag.” That, one assumes, is how the negotiations went.

So much for the new Europe standing up to the big boys.

Once America waved the big stick, these valiant champions of civil liberty appear to have scuttled back into line.

A legal challenge to the bill on the grounds that it infringes European date protection law cannot be ruled out.

Mind you, a thought does occur to Antigone1984.

Why should anyone want to cross the pond in the first place?

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 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

 1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Das Vierte Reich/The Fourth Reich (6 Feb 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

5. What would Gandhi have said? (30 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.

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