Monday, February 15, 2010

Sorry to be right

Being able to say "I told you so" is usually sweet, but not this time.

Over a year ago, Mark Richard (a former senior Department of Justice official) and I predicted, in an article published in Policy Review, that U.S.-EU counterterrorism and law enforcement cooperation would suffer if the EU adopted the Lisbon Treaty.

Well, the Treaty was adopted on December 1, 2009, and the European Parliament, which under the Treaty acquired new powers in this area, has just rejected an agreement allowing the EU and the United States to share financial data that may be linked to terrorists. The agreement had already been renegotiated, but the Parliament found it still lacked sufficient protection for personal data.

Expect more of this in future. The Parliament has a great deal of pent-up resentment at being excluded from such issues in the past; it lacks the law enforcement expertise necessary to make informed decisions on such issues; and many of its members are convinced that the United States is out to abuse their privacy and to somehow take advantage of Europe.

Just for the record, here's the report prepared by Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, perhaps the most prominent European expert on fighting terrorism. It documents the agreement's proven value to European governments as well as to the United States. (Thanks to John Rosenthal.)

No comments: