Category: Archive

Echo Editorial: Hammer out deal

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Many Europeans will rejoice. They fear a “big brother” approach by the U.S. and are uncomfortable about how their data will be used.
There is also unspoken schadenfreude. A majority of Europeans believe that the war in Iraq was ill-advised and illegal, and has made the world a more dangerous place. They are quite happy to see Europe politically “punish” President Bush and his administration.
They should get a tighter grip on reality.
The agreement on passenger data has nothing to do with Iraq; it predates the invasion and occupation.
The facts are, the United States was attacked by religious fanatics, more than 3,000 innocent civilians murdered live on television, and any U.S. government must and will do everything in its power to prevent another 9/11.
There can be no question of the government not trying to find out in advance exactly who is visiting the United States. So the only people likely to suffer if the agreement is scrapped are EU citizens, forced to wait in long lines to give their details at U.S. airports before being allowed enter the country.
None of this is inevitable. The European Union and the United States have around three months before the court issues a ruling. They should use the time to hammer out a fresh agreement.
They should, of course, concern themselves with civil rights. A sunset clause, for example, where all the data would be destroyed by a certain date unless mutually agreed, would be appropriate.
And similar data on U.S. passengers traveling to the European Union should be supplied on the same basis.
But agreement must be found; anything else represents a lose-lose proposition.

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