CLEER WP 2013/2 - Juan Santos Vara
The role of the European Parliament in the conclusion of the Transatlantic Agreements
on the transfer of personal data after Lisbon
Juan Santos Vara
The application of the ordinary legislative procedure to the adoption of acts in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters has enhanced the role of the European Parliament in the conclusion of international agreements. In the past, the European Parliament strongly opposed to the US demands on data transfers. It must be recognised that the new powers vested in the European Parliament by the Lisbon Treaty have enabled it to influence the negotiation of agreements in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, in particular in the field of data processing. However, the analysis of the 2010 SWIFT and 2011 PNR Agreements reveal that the European Parliament decided not to oppose to US demands on data transfers. Even though many MEPs expressed strong reservations against these Agreements, the Parliament decided to accept most of the US’ requirements. The change of the Parliament’s position is due to the fact that it felt included and listened in the negotiation process by the actors involved. In conclusion, the European Parliament is using the powers conferred on it by the Lisbon Treaty more to assert its new role on the conclusion of international treaties in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters than to influence the substantial content of the transatlantic agreements.