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Cablegate: U.S.-Eu Data Protection Principles: Demarche

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #8592 3112250
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 062244Z NOV 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1655
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 2079

UNCLAS STATE 118592

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
BRUSSELS PLEASE PASS TO USEU FOR ACTION

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EUN FR PREL PTER
SUBJECT: U.S.-EU DATA PROTECTION PRINCIPLES: DEMARCHE
REQUEST

1. (U) Summary: Embassy Paris is requested to approach host
government officials at the appropriate level to seek
information regarding the upcoming COREPER discussion on
November 12 of the U.S.-EU High Level Contact Group on data
protection principles, and more generally of the French EU
Presidency,s expectations of U.S.-EU cooperation in the area
of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). USEU may consider
delivering similar points to the French Permanent
Representation in Brussels, and Commission and Council
Secretariat counterparts, as appropriate. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On November 4, USEU representatives met with
European Commission and French Permanent Representation
officials in Brussels to review preparations for the upcoming
U.S.-EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial, scheduled on
December 12 in Washington. The U.S. was informed that the EU
intended to raise the status of U.S.-EU discussions on data
protection principles - the High Level Contact Group (HLCG) -
during the COREPER meeting on November 12. Furthermore, the
Commission intends to place on hold a U.S. cooperation
agreement with Frontex.

3. (SBU) The U.S. is concerned that, absent a significant
narrowing of remaining differences on the draft text of the
data protection principles and draft Ministerial statement
being discussed in the HLCG, a discussion in COREPER may be
counterproductive, perhaps even designed to slow down even
further the negotiations. This concern is amplified if
France is not fully behind the U.S. position to issue a
political statement at the Ministerial that would constitute
a political framework that demonstrates a common
understanding of the necessary privacy and data protection
safeguards associated with law enforcement and public
security (Third Pillar) data transfers. The Department
wishes to understand France,s intentions at next week,s
COREPER discussion, and what France sees as key deliverables
for the upcoming Ministerial meeting.

4. (U) Demarche request: Embassy Paris is requested to
approach appropriate French officials to express our surprise
and concern about what we fear may be substantial obstacles
to key JHA deliverables for the U.S.-EU Justice and Home
Affairs Ministerial on December 12, 2008. Failure to make
progress on the issues identified below would result in no
substantive JHA achievements during the French Presidency.
USEU may consider delivering similar points to the French
Permanent Representation in Brussels and to Commission and
Council Secretariat officials as appropriate. Responses are
requested via front channel cable by Monday, November 10.
Posts may draw upon the following suggested points:

-- Transatlantic cooperation, including on law enforcement
and counterterrorism matters, remains a top USG priority. As
we look to preserve and expand such cooperation, it is
essential that we bring to a successful close the work of the
High Level Contact Group to develop a framework of common
understanding of the necessary privacy and data protection
safeguards associated with law enforcement and public
security (Third Pillar) data transfers.

-- We are concerned that EU participants in the HLCG may have
different expectations and intentions for what can be
resolved by the December 12 Ministerial. We therefore ask
for the French to please explain the objective in seeking
COREPER guidance on November 12 with regard to the HLCG. We
believe this could be premature as EU experts have not yet
responded to the U.S. revisions to the initial draft text.
Assuming there may still be some expert-level questions for
clarification, is it perhaps premature to discuss at COREPER
level?

-- We are surprised and disturbed to learn that the
Commission appears to be holding up progress on the
U.S.-Frontex working arrangement, linking further progress
here to the HLCG process.

-- Our common goal is a successful JHA Ministerial, but these
developments have cast in doubt the likelihood of achieving
two of the most significant deliverables for that event.

5. (U) Department appreciates posts, attention to this
request. Please slug responses for EUR/ERA Alessandro Nardi.
RICE

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