Nelle intenzioni di Obama, l’accordo di libero scambio dovrebbe raggiungere una cifra stimata di 138 miliardi di dollari, circa 100 miliardi di euro l’anno. Il volume degli scambi tra gli Stati Uniti e l’Unione europea, lo scorso anno è stato di 800 miliardi di euro. Una sanzione dell’Unione europea -scrive per Ap Juergen Baetz- potrebbe essere quella di sospendere l’accordo Safe Harbor che consente alle aziende americane di memorizzare ed elaborare i loro dati dove vogliono.
The backlash in Europe over U.S. spying is threatening an agreement that generates tens of billions of dollars in trans-Atlantic business every year – and negotiations on another pact worth many times more. A growing number of European officials are calling for the suspension of the “Safe Harbor” agreement that lets U.S. companies process commercial and personal data – sales, emails, photos – from customers in Europe. This little-known but vital deal allows more than 4,200 American companies to do business in Europe, including Internet giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Revelations of the extent of U.S. spying on its European allies is also threatening to undermine one of President Barack Obama’s top trans-Atlantic goals: a sweeping free-trade agreement that would add an estimated $138 billion (100 billion euros) a year to each economy’s gross domestic production. Top EU officials say the trust needed for the negotiations has been shattered. “For ambitious and complex negotiations to succeed, there needs to be trust among the negotiating partners,” EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Wednesday in a speech at Yale University.
At the very least, the Europeans are expected to demand that the U.S. significantly strengthen its privacy laws to give consumers much more control over how companies use their personal data – and extend those rights to European citizens, maybe even giving them the right to sue American companies in U.S. Courts. The Europeans had long been pressing these issues with the Americans. But since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden began to leak surprising details on the extent of U.S. surveillance in Europe, the European demands have grown teeth.
“I don’t think the U.S. government can be convinced by arguments or outrage alone, but by making it clear that American interests will suffer if this global surveillance is simply continued”, said Peter Schaar, the head of Germany’s data protection watchdog. One sanction the European Union could slap on the U.S. would be to suspend the Safe Harbor deal, which allows American businesses to store and process their data where they want. It aims to ensure that European customers’ data are just as safe as in Europe when handled in the U.S.
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