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October 01, 2006

Talks fail with EU on Air Traffic Safety ... I wonder why [AnalogKid]

Does this really surprise anyone?

The United States and the European Union failed to reach a new deal on sharing air passenger data by Saturday's deadline, though officials said negotiations would continue.

Oh Good.

Reaching a new deal before a court-imposed deadline was an EU priority to ensure airlines could continue to legally submit 34 pieces of data about passengers flying from Europe to U.S. destinations. Such data - including passengers' names, addresses and credit card details - must be transferred to U.S. authorities within 15 minutes of a flight's departure for the United States.

The EU's top court in May ruled that the deal put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States was illegal because it was not using the right legal basis under EU law. It did not rule on the deal's content.

An EU court allowed the data to keep flowing until Sept. 30 to give officials time to negotiate a new deal.

So ... for anyone thinking that the EU was anything but a bureaucratic machine intended to obfuscate policy with more laws: you were wrong. Again.

The good news? The Bush Administration is pretty clear on this too. They know who they're dealing with.


Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the failure to agree wouldn't disrupt trans-Atlantic air travel. ...

"The talks did not break down," Chertoff said. "Their delegation had to go home and that's fine."

Reaching a new deal before a court-imposed deadline was an EU priority to ensure airlines could continue to legally submit 34 pieces of data about passengers flying from Europe to U.S. destinations. Such data - including passengers' names, addresses and credit card details - must be transferred to U.S. authorities within 15 minutes of a flight's departure for the United States.

"Their delegation had to go home." Heh.

"We have to discuss on Commission level what to do next," Todd said. He said the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, would debate the issue Thursday.

I guess when you're talking about a nuanced and intelligent group of socialists bureaucrats lawyers serious politicians, five years aren't enough.

Seriously, this is such a pivotal issue. Why is this difficult? On the one hand we need to protect America. On the other, we don't want to restrict our freedoms. They are not mutually exclusive, but it would be nice to think that we of the West are on our game enough to prioritize one before the other and still achieve both.

Some of us are. Some of us aren't.

Without the deal, airlines that hand over passenger data to U.S. authorities could face legal action from national data protection authorities in EU states, the Commission said.

Chertoff, though, said he had been assured that airlines would continue to transmit the data. "There's no intention for them to interfere with the continued transmission," Chertoff said.

He also said he didn't expect airlines to be fined.

"I don't envision that while we're in these discussions any country in Europe is going to take some precipitous step to put the airlines in a difficult position," he said.

Chertoff said there is no legal vacuum because U.S. law is clear that airlines have to provide information about people entering this country.

(Emphasis mine.)

So on the one hand, he's dismissive of the EU as an effective organization to get things done, citing American Law as sufficient.

Good.

On the other, he seems to leave open the possibility for EU legal action against airlines if they continue to comply with US law. Again, good. This is their problem, not ours, and uses American Corporate sovereignty as a tool.

As long as they keep this up, they will continue to succeed. Just one niggling problem ... what the hell happened at Gitmo?

I've got a question Update: Does anyone think that the GWOT would be a lot further along if the EU wasn't?

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posted by Ace at 11:18 AM

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