European Commission - Press release
Commission presents options for establishing a European system for tracking terrorist financing
Brussels, 13 July 2011 – Responding to the call from the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, today the Commission adopted a Communication outlining the main options for establishing a European Terrorist Finance Tracking System (TFTS). This Communication represents an initial response to the request to prepare a legal and technical framework for establishing such a system within the European Union.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, said: "Following the conclusion of the EU-US TFTP Agreement the European Parliament and the Council have asked the Commission to find a European solution for extracting the requested data on European soil. Today's Communication describes the different possible options and seeks to trigger a debate about possible future proposals. Given that these future proposals would need to fully respect fundamental rights, and in particular ensure a high level of data protection, I intend to pay close attention to the necessity and proportionality of any possible measures which may be proposed".
A European TFTS should have two main objectives. First, the system must contribute to limiting the amount of personal data transferred to the US. Second, it should contribute significantly to efforts to cut off terrorists' access to funding and materials and follow their transactions.
The Communication gives clear indications about the key issues which need to be decided upon before such a system can be established. These include the need to fully respect the fundamental rights of European citizens, data protection and data security issues, the operational scope of the system, as well as costs.
Today's Communication presents the different options under consideration at this stage without indicating any preferred one. The Commission will now discuss these options in detail with the Council and the European Parliament before deciding on further steps on the basis of a thorough impact assessment.
On 28 June 2010, the European Union and the United States of America signed the agreement on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data for the purpose of the Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme (EU-US TFTP Agreement). At the same time, the Council of the EU asked the European Commission to propose, by 1 August 2011, "a legal and technical framework for the extraction of data on EU territory". The Commission has since worked on the possible introduction of such a system. The Communication is a first step towards concrete proposals.
Developing an EU TFTS is part of a wider agenda to prevent terrorism and protect European citizens, as identified in the EU Internal Security Strategy presented by the Commission in November 2010 (IP/10/1535and MEMO/10/598).
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