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Cablegate: Coalition Tested As Us-Eu Tftp/Swift Agreement

VZCZCXRO6301
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHRL #1528/01 3371019
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031019Z DEC 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5948
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCXONI/ONI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 001528

SIPDIS

TREASURY FOR OFAC SZUBIN, MONBORNE, MAHER
JUSTICE FOR BRUCE SWARTZ
USEU FOR CHASE, DODMAN, SNYDER
STATE FOR S/ES-O, EUR/ERA, EUR/CE, L AND S/CT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/02/2019
TAGS: PGOV PTER PREL KJUS KHLS GM
SUBJECT: COALITION TESTED AS US-EU TFTP/SWIFT AGREEMENT
PASSES ON GERMAN ABSTENTION

REF: A. BERLIN 1393
B. BERLIN 1377
C. BERLIN 1167

Classified By: DCM Greg T. Delawie for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: German Federal Interior Minister Thomas de
Maiziere overruled Justice Minister Sabine
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and abstained from voting at the
November 30 COREPER vote in Brussels on an interim U.S.-EU
agreement to continue the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program.
De Maiziere's decision allowed the agreement to pass and
followed weeks of engagement in Berlin, Brussels and
Washington as well as high-level interventions from Secretary
Clinton, Treasury Secretary Geithner, Attorney General
Holder, National Security Advisor Gen. Jones and Ambassador
Murphy. De Maiziere's decision was difficult for him to make
given that the coalition agreement called for specific
revisions to the SWIFT agreement, none of which Germany
achieved, except a shortening of the interim period from 12
to 9 months. The episode has tested Germany's new coalition
government just weeks after its formation with
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger heavily criticizing the
abstention. This experience suggests that we will need to
pay close attention to Germany during our negotiations on a
long-term TFTP agreement. END SUMMARY


Germany Relents Following Intense Pressure
---------------


2. (C) Ambassador Murphy met with Interior Minister de
Maiziere on November 27 and urged him to support U.S.-EU
negotiations on an interim TFTP agreement, to which de
Maiziere indicated that he would abstain from voting on the
agenda item at the November 30 COREPER meeting. De
Maiziere's decision, which followed a German request to
shorten the duration of the interim agreement to nine months
rather than twelve, facilitated the passing of the agreement
as Germany was the strongest holdout. De Maiziere's decision
followed two weeks of intense lobbying in Berlin, Brussels
and Washington by Embassy Berlin, USEU, the Departments of
Treasury, State and Justice and the NSC. The campaign
included calls by Secretaries Clinton, Geithner, the Attorney
General and the National Security Advisor to their German
counterparts. State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator
Benjamin urged support for the agreement during a two-day
visit to Berlin (see septel). Ambassador Murphy twice wrote
to all five relevant ministers (Interior, Justice, Finance,
Chancellery, and MFA) and made repeated calls to senior
decision makers, stressing the importance of the interim
agreement and the need for Germany to not block it. The DCM,
Econ M/C, and staff from multiple embassy sections heavily
engaged on the issue as well.


3. (C) De Maiziere (CDU) stressed that his decision was not
an easy one given that the Christian Democrat/Social Union
(CDU/CSU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) coalition had
differing views on the TFTP program. The outcome
particularly irritated Justice Minister
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger because she had expressed
concerns about the TFTP dating back to the initial July
decision to give the negotiating mandate to the Swedish EU
Presidency. Furthermore, in October
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger had inserted language into the
CDU/CSU-FDP coalition agreement specifically addressing the
TFTP negotiations and directing Germany to call upon the EU
to work towards a higher level of data protection (see Ref
B). Following de Maiziere's decision, the Justice Minister
complained that her views were ignored and that the decision
has "upset millions of citizens of Europe." De Maiziere told
the Ambassador that he would be expressing some criticisms of
the agreement publicly in order to reflect MoI concerns and
to deflect public criticism. He was subsequently quoted as
saying that "a not completely satisfactory agreement is
better than none at all."


BERLIN 00001528 002 OF 002

German Vote Comes with Costs for the Coalition
----------


4. (C) De Maiziere intimated, and working level contacts have
confirmed, that Germany would like to avoid a repeat of our
all-out lobbying effort during the negotiations for a
long-term TFTP agreement. De Maiziere's strong preference is
to seek consensus with his ministry colleagues. He
particularly wants to avoid another clash with the Justice
Minister on this issue as it has caused no small amount of
discord between the new coalition partners, who are having a
rocky start on a number of fronts. The incident is
particularly difficult for de Maiziere as he entered the
Interior Ministry stressing that he represented a break from
his predecessor Wolfgang Schaeuble, whom he felt overly
focused on security issues (see Ref A). De Maiziere surely
finds this whole experience regrettable as it put him in
exactly the position he did not want to be in: seemingly
siding with the U.S. over German interests, causing
disruption within the coalition, and compromising the data
privacy rights of German citizens.


Engaging the FDP on Data Privacy
---------


5. (C) It is not altogether surprising that this disagreement
arose given the FDP's reputation as a staunch defender of
citizens' privacy rights (see Ref C). Nevertheless, the
intensity of this dispute should be a wake up call - we must
avoid repeating this as we look to completing the long-term
U.S.-EU TFTP agreement. The coalition agreement calls for
strict limitations on the use of TFTP data, no automatic
access to the system, data deletion requirements, clear rules
on sharing information with third parties and legal redress.
These positions will guide Germany's views in the follow-on
negotiations, and we need to consider how to take them into
account in a way that does not complicate TFTP
implementation.

6. (C) Embassy Berlin is examining how we can reach out to
FDP ministers and parliamentarians to educate them on U.S.
data protection structures as this experience has
demonstrated that they are often misinformed on the nature of
our policies. We will likewise reach out to CDU/CSU decision
makers, in part to enlist their help in reaching the German
public. We also intend to make the point that countering
terrorism in a globalized world, where terrorists and their
supporters use open borders and information technology to
quickly move people and financing, requires robust
international data sharing.
MURPHY

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