Cable describes Merkel anger after SWIFT interim agreement was voted down in EP

The Chancellor had personally lobbied German MEPs from the CDU/CSU parties to support the agreement, but most of them voted against the agreement. Merkel was “very very angry” according to Cable 10BERLIN180 of 12 February 2010 and worried that Washington would view the EP’s veto as a sign that Europe does not take the terrorist threat seriously. Merkel also worried about the ramifications (presumably within Europe and for transatlantic relations) that might follow were a terrorist attack to occur that could have been prevented had SWIFT data been exchanged.

Comment from the US embassy:

The overwhelming rejection of the interim agreement by German MEPs from all political parties nonetheless is surprising.  Although we anticipated that the FDP and Greens would come out strongly against the interim agreement, the broad lack of support it received from the CDU/CSU and Social Democrats was unexpected.  We believe a number of factors contributed to this including the fact that MEPs of all stripes saw this as an early opportunity to exert their new post-Lisbon powers and send a message to the Commission and Council.  Specific to Germany, the almost complete absence of public statements by German leadership in support of the agreement resulted in a situation in which MEPs received no political coverage supporting a positive vote and saw little political cost for a no vote. Furthermore, the German public and political class largely tends to view terrorism abstractly given that it has been decades since any successful terrorist attack has occurred on German soil.  This week’s TFTP vote demonstrates that we need to intensify our engagement with German government interlocutors, Bundestag and European parliamentarians and opinion makers to get our views across.  We need to also demonstrate that the U.S. has strong data privacy measures in place so that robust data sharing comes with robust data protections.


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