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ChipA Brussels kerfuffle broke out in mid-July when Ireland blocked European Commission plans to declare Israel a "safe harbour" for the personal data of EU citizens, writes Stephen Gardner. The declaration would have removed restrictions on transfers of information to Israel – for example employee or health records – and would have undermined the role of EU national data protection authorities, which presently have a right of veto over any transfers that do take place.
Ireland scotched the deal because someone who might or might not have been connected with Mossad forged a number of Irish passports that were used in the assassination in January of a Hamas official in Dubai. The EU should take "very serious account" of this type of behaviour before concluding data exchange deals, the Irish said, though no other EU country seems to have been very bothered.

The Commission will return to the question in September, and try to find a way around the Irish objection. But in the meantime, away from the spotlight, a deal on the transfer of far more sensitive information to Israel is being negotiated.

The Israelis have started negotiations with Eurojust, an EU agency set up to help with criminal prosecutions involving two or more EU states. If a "cooperation agreement" is concluded it will open the way for Eurojust to pass on information about investigations and suspects, DNA profiles and records from policing databases maintained by EU states. Eurocorrespondent asked Eurojust if it will also take "very serious account" of misuse of EU data, such as passport forgery, but no answer has been forthcoming.
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