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Viewing cable 09BERLIN1528, COALITION TESTED AS US-EU TFTP/SWIFT AGREEMENT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BERLIN1528 2009-12-03 10:10 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Berlin
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