Parliamentary question by Marco Cappato (NI) to to the Council and answer

Parliamentary questions
by Marco Cappato (NI) to the Council
(21 November 2002)

Subject: Transfer of personal data between Europe and the USA

During a visit by the European Parliament Delegation for relations with the United States, representatives of the Europol Washington office indicated that Europol had, on a number of occasions, approved transfers of personal data with the US authorities but only in cases of life and death, on the responsibility of the Europol Director and under the supervision of the Board.

Can the Council provide detailed information concerning such procedures and, in particular, the legal basis on which they are carried out? In how many cases has this occurred involving how many people (of what nationality) and what data? What reasons of exceptional and vital importance have in the past been put forward in this connection?

Why is that, according to Europol representatives in the USA, there has been no supply of data in the opposite direction, i.e. from the United States authorities to Europol?

(5 and 6 May 2003)

Article 2(1) in conjunction with Article 4 of the Council Act of 12 March 1999 adopting the rules governing the transmission of personal data by Europol to third States and third bodies provides the legal basis for the exceptional transmission of personal data to the US where that is absolutely necessary in order to safeguard the essential interest of the Member States or to prevent imminent danger associated with crime. The Management Board and Joint Supervisory Body are informed of any such transmission.

The Council is not in a position to provide information regarding the nature of the data transmitted to the USA nor regarding the reasons for the transmission.

In addition, the Council would inform the Honourable Member that at its meeting on 19 December 2002 it authorised the Director of Europol to conclude the draft Supplemental Agreement between the United States of America and Europol on the exchange of personal data and related information and to exchange the Letters relating to the Supplemental Agreement.