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Safe Harbour II: deadline must not be missed


22 Jan 2016


Global Europe
Justice & Home Affairs

As the US Senate has decided to delay the vote on the Judicial Redress Act, the EPP Group Spokesman on Data Protection, Axel Voss MEP, and Monika Hohlmeier MEP, EPP Group Spokeswoman on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, have urged both sides of the Atlantic to agree on a durable and legally-watertight agreement by the self-imposed deadline of 31 January 2016. Thousands of European small and medium-sized enterprises continue to operate in legal limbo on data transfers between the two continents.

"Regrettably, this postponement of the Judicial Redress Act could have negative consequences on the conclusion of the Safe Harbour II negotiations before the deadline. It is clear by now that this will have an adverse impact on thousands of businesses across Europe and the US. It stands to reason that European citizens should enjoy the same rights as those granted to US citizens. This Judicial Redress Act is exactly that. It provides equal treatment for EU citizens. It therefore follows that any agreement with the US on data transfers is contingent on the urgent approval of the Judicial Redress Act by the US Congress so that negotiations on Safe Harbour II are concluded before the deadline. Businesses on both sides of the Atlantic are understandably asking for a quick resolution to remove legal uncertainty", Monika Hohlmeier said.

"As explicitly stated by the EU and US business leaders in their letter to President Obama, President Tusk and President Juncker, businesses strongly support personal privacy, data protection, and security. Yet the European Court of Justice's decision on Safe Harbour has indeed created profound legal uncertainty, in particular for SMEs, in transferring data across the pond", added Axel Voss.

"I strongly believe that an agreement must be reached by the end of this month and that this is followed by a reasonable compliance phase-in period in order to give small enterprises time to adjust to the newly-agreed legal framework", he concluded.