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Cablegate: Demarche Delivered Regarding U.S.-Eu Data

VZCZCXRO7494
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHBS #1718/01 3151329
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101329Z NOV 08
FM USEU BRUSSELS
TO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 001718

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR INL, EUR, L/LEI, INL/PC, INL/AAE;
JUSTICE FOR CRIMINAL DIVISION, OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS;
HOMELAND SECURITY FOR OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PREL PTER EUN FR KJUS ECON KPAO KTIA
KHLS
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED REGARDING U.S.-EU DATA
PROTECTION ISSUE AND HLCG

REF: SECSTATE 118592 (NOTAL)

1. (SBU) Following instructions in Reftel, on November 7,
2008, USEU Senior Justice Counsel spoke with Claire Rocheteau
of the French Permanent Representation to the EU who serves
as the chair of the EU side of the U.S.-EU High Level Contact
Group (HLCG) experts. The USEU representative raised the
U.S. concern that the Presidency's planned presentation at
the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER II)
meeting on November 12 of a proposed EU- U.S. Ministerial
Statement on data protection and law enforcement information
sharing was premature as many points pending before the
experts group had not yet been discussed. Ms. Rocheteau was
gracious when she learned of our concern and said that this
presentation in COREPER was intended to inform Ambassadors,
in a positive way, of the proposed next step and not to seek
decisions on details. She did, however, point to some basic
differences the EU side had with the U.S. approach to this
"political document."

2. (SBU) In the conversation, USEU Justice Counsel explained
that the U.S. side had become concerned when we learned that
the proposal for an interim solution (pending negotiation of
a final international agreement on data protections/privacy)
of an EU - U.S. Ministerial Statement would be taken before
COREPER II November 12. The U.S. side feared that this was
premature as many of the new points set out in the proposed
drafts of the Statement had not yet been discussed by the
HLCG experts. We further feared if this were a decisional
matter before COREPER that avenues possible later agreement
might be closed off before any discussion had been initiated.

3. (SBU) Ms. Rocheteau said she was appreciative of the
contact relating our concern. Nevertheless the French
Presidency (and EU Commission and Council representatives on
the experts group) believed that the proposal for a
Ministerial Statement needed to be presented before COREPER
in order to get confirmation that would then allow the EU
side to proceed. Doing so, she said, would also give force
to their work. She conceded that it wold have been
preferable first to have discussed the differences in our
drafts but that the fast approaching deadline of the December
Ministerial (shortened further, as she noted, by the long
time taken by the U.S. side in proffering its counter-draft)
forced them to move in a "reverse manner" at this juncture.
She repeatedly underlined the French Presidency's intention
that this presentation to COREPER would be as positive as
possible because they "absolutely" wanted to proceed with
this interim Ministerial Statement and with the HLCG experts'
discussions.

4. (SBU) Ms. Rocheteau said that there were similarities and
some differences between items in the EU draft and the U.S.
counter-draft of the Statement. She noted that both the EU
and the U.S. drafts had been distributed to COREPER on a
"restreint" (no distribution) basis but that their COREPER
presentation and discussion was not intended to go into
details. She made clear that the EU envisioned the proposed
Ministerial Statement as a "political" statement and that it
should not take the form of a "legal obligation" or be read
to solve any differences between the two sides in a final way
as one might infer from the U.S. draft text. Their proposed
departure point for the Ministerial Statement was the June
2008 Final Report of the HLCG. She said the presentation
before COREPER would provide needed transparency to the HLCG
process and would give the Presidency firm support against
the constant challenges from the European Parliament and 27
Member State parliaments. Some EU members had criticized a
lack of transparency about the HLCG's work.

5. (SBU) The USEU representative returned to the concern that
COREPER might close off areas (or principles) that had not
yet been discussed. Ms. Rocheteau replied this was not their
intention and that she would add a briefing point for her
Ambassador that there should be no decision on any matters
not yet discussed in full (by the HLCG experts).

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Although the drafts are marked "restreint"
(EU Confidential), HLCG-related internal documents have been
leaked regularly to certain web sites in the past. The
interagency should prepare our posts in the 27 EU member

BRUSSELS 00001718 002 OF 002


states with talking points in the event that differences in
the U.S. and EU negotiating positions become a public issue.
END COMMENT.

Silverberg
.

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