Procedure : 2013/2682(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0343/2013

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 03/07/2013 - 14
CRE 03/07/2013 - 14

Votes :

PV 04/07/2013 - 13.3
CRE 04/07/2013 - 13.3

Texts adopted :


PDF 130kWORD 66k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0336/2013

to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the US National Security Agency surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various Member States and the impact on EU citizens’ privacy (2013/2682(RSP))

Dimitrios Droutsas, Claude Moraes, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Sylvie Guillaume on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on the US National Security Agency surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various Member States and the impact on EU citizens’ privacy (2013/2682(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Articles 2 and 6 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR),

–   having regard to the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance between the European Union and the United States of America(1),

–   having regard to the Convention on Cybercrime (CETS No 185),

–   having regard to the EU-US Safe Harbour Agreement, in particular Article 3 thereof, and to the list of participants in the agreement,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the right to privacy and to data protection, notably its resolution of 5 September 2001 on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (Echelon interception system)(2),

–   having regard to the USA’s Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the subsequent amendment acts thereto,

–   having regard to the debate with Commissioner Reding on 15 February 2012 on third‑country legislation and EU data protection laws (PV 15/02/2012 – 19),

–   having regard to the current revision of the Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC),

–   having regard to the ongoing negotiation of an EU-US framework agreement on protection of personal data when transferred and processed for police and judicial cooperation purposes (the ‘Umbrella Agreement’),

–   having regard to the Commission communication on unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe (COM(2012)0529),

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas reports in the international press at the beginning of June 2013 revealed evidence that, through programmes such as PRISM, the US authorities are accessing and processing the personal data of EU citizens on a large scale when they use US online service providers;

B.  whereas Commissioner Reding has written a letter to the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, raising European concerns and asking for clarifications and explanations on the PRISM programme and other such programmes which involve data collection and search, and on the laws under which such programmes may be authorised;

C. whereas a full response from the US authorities is yet to be received, despite the discussions which took place at the EU-US Justice Ministerial meeting in Dublin on 14 June 2013;

D. whereas at the end of June 2013 the international press reported allegations that the US authorities had systematically monitored the offices of EU institutions in Washington DC and New York, as well as the premises of EU institutions in Brussels, through the bugging of offices, the use of electronic implants and antennae and the infiltration of email and telephone networks;

E.  whereas the press reports also refer to the monitoring of EU Member States;

F.  whereas, should the reports prove to be factual, this type of interception and data collection cannot be justified within the scope of anti-terrorism or national security measures;

G. whereas formal explanations and clarifications have been demanded from the US authorities;

H. whereas the transatlantic partnership between the EU and the US must be based on mutual trust and respect, loyal and mutual cooperation, and respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law;

I.   whereas, under the Safe Harbour Agreement, the Member States and the Commission are entrusted with the duty of guaranteeing the security and integrity of personal data; whereas, under Article 3, the Commission has a duty, should the provisions of the agreement not be respected, to reverse or suspend the agreement;

J.   whereas the companies involved in the PRISM case, as reported in the international press, are all parties to the Safe Harbour Agreement;

K. whereas the US has signed and ratified the Convention on Cybercrime, which entered into force in 2007, and whereas its clauses and principles were thus made part of US domestic law;

L.  whereas the Convention on Cybercrime provides that all measures for the ‘collection of evidence in electronic form’ of any criminal offence (Article 14) must provide for the adequate protection of fundamental human rights, in particular those laid down in the ECHR (Article 8, Privacy), must ensure compliance with ‘the principle of proportionality’ and must be subject to safeguards that include, inter alia, judicial or other independent supervision, grounds justifying application, and limitation of the scope and duration of such procedures (Article 15);

M. whereas it would be unfortunate, should the efforts to conclude a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which demonstrates the commitment to further strengthen the partnership between the EU and the US, be affected by the recent allegations;

N. whereas the EU-US Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance, as ratified by the Union and the Congress, stipulates modalities for gathering and exchanging information, and requesting and providing assistance in obtaining evidence located in one country to assist in criminal investigations or proceedings in another;

O. whereas on 14 June 2013 Commissioner Malmström announced the setting-up of a transatlantic group of experts;

P.  whereas the international press has also reported the alleged cooperation and involvement of EU Member States in the PRISM programme and other such programmes, or the fact of their accessing the databases created by such programmes;

Q. whereas the international press also reported the alleged cooperation of Member States in the transmission of similar types of personal data from the Member States to the US;

R.  whereas several Member States have surveillance programmes or are discussing such programmes;

S.  whereas according to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, any such programme has to be demonstrably proportionate and necessary in a democratic society;

T.  whereas data protection reform is under way at EU level, through the revision of Directive 95/46/EC and its replacement with the proposed general Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data;

U. whereas the Member States are obliged to respect the fundamental values enshrined in Article 2 of the TEU and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

1.  Expresses serious concern over the PRISM programme and other such programmes involving data collection, which, should the information available to date be confirmed, would constitute a serious violation of EU citizens’ fundamental right to privacy and data protection;

2.  Expresses serious and grave concern over the allegations of the US authorities spying on the EU institutions’ offices and on the emails and phone calls of their employees; finds – if the allegations are proved to be correct – these types of action to be completely unacceptable and seriously damaging to the transatlantic relationship; expresses concern as to whether this amounts to a serious violation of international law, and specifically of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations;

3.  Calls on the US authorities, without undue delay, to provide the EU with full information on the PRISM programme and other such programmes involving data collection, as also requested by Commissioner Reding in her letter of 10 June 2013 to Attorney General Eric Holder;

4.  Calls on the US authorities, without any delay, to provide the EU institutions with full clarification and explanations regarding the allegations of its authorities’ spying activities vis-à-vis the EU institutions’ offices in Washington DC, New York and Brussels;

5.  Calls on the US authorities to verify the legality of the PRISM programme and other such programmes involving data collection, and whether they are in line – and can be demonstrated to be in line – with the legal obligations laid down in the Convention on Cybercrime, in particular the requirement for proportionality and appropriate safeguards such as independent supervision and limitation of scope and duration;

6.  Demands that the transatlantic expert group, as announced by Commissioner Malmström and in which Parliament will participate, be granted an appropriate level of security clearance and access to all appropriate documents, in order to be able to conduct its work properly and within a set deadline; further demands that this expert group draw up conclusions and a set of recommendations;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the US authorities to resume without delay the negotiations on the framework agreement on protection of personal data when transferred and processed for police and judicial cooperation purposes;

8.  Calls on the Commission to conduct a full review of the Safe Harbour Agreement in the light of the recent information, under Article 3 of the Agreement;

9.  Expresses serious concern at the revelations relating to the alleged surveillance programmes run by Member States, either with the aid of the US National Security Agency or unilaterally;

10. Calls on the Member States to ensure that their respective laws and practices are in full conformity with the principles of necessity and proportionality, the ECHR and the related case law and, should they not be, to review them accordingly;

11. Calls on the Council, as a matter of urgency, to accelerate its work on the whole Data Protection Package, and specifically the proposed Data Protection Directive, in order to bring European data protection legislation up to date as soon as possible, in accordance with the present-day need to protect personal data and individual privacy;

12. Calls on the Commission to ensure, in the current negotiations on the Data Protection Package, that EU data protection standards are not undermined as a result of the TTIP with the US;

13. Stresses that all companies providing services in the EU must comply with EU law without exception and are liable for any breaches;

14. Stresses that companies falling under third-country jurisdiction should provide users located in the EU with a clear and distinguishable warning concerning the possibility of personal data being processed by law enforcement and intelligence following secret orders or injunctions;

15. Instructs its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to conduct an in‑depth inquiry into PRISM and other such programmes involving data collection, including the alleged spying on EU offices, and to report back to the plenary as soon as possible;

16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Council of Europe, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the President of the United States, the United States Senate and House of Representatives, the United States Secretaries for Homeland Security and Justice and the United States Attorney General.


OJ L 181, 19.7.2003, p. 34.


OJ C 72 E, 21.3.2002, p. 221.

Last updated: 2 July 2013Legal notice