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S&Ds lead concerns over data privacy safeguards in EU-US agreement

Date

11 May 2023

Sections

Innovation & Enterprise

Today, the European Parliament is sending a strong message to the Commission over insufficient safeguards in the EU-US Data Privacy Framework. In a plenary vote with 306 votes in favour, MEPs are urging the European Commission to refrain from adopting an adequacy decision on the transfer of personal data between the EU and the US until it is clear that EU citizens’ rights are sufficiently protected. According to the Parliament, reforms introduced by an Executive Order of the President of the United States that were aimed at resolving previous failed agreements are not enough. The S&D Group continues to have concerns over bulk data collection and the lack of transparency in the redress process, both of which fail to protect fundamental rights. MEPs are keen to introduce a sunset clause that would allow the adequacy decision to expire and would trigger a renewal process that upholds the EU’s data privacy standard.

The vote today comes ahead of meetings next week between MEPs and U.S. counterparts working on EU-US cooperation on justice and home affairs in Washington D.C. The delegation, that includes LIBE Chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar and S&D spokesperson for justice and home affairs Birgit Sippel, will speak to counterparts about the protection of personal data, internal security, women’s rights and visa reciprocity.

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Chair of the LIBE committee, said:

“Like its predecessors Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield, we are concerned that the new EU-US framework will yet again be rejected in the European courts. Citizens and businesses need certainty, not more doubt, and we are not there yet. We are not convinced that the new framework sufficiently protects the personal data of our citizens. The Commission needs to deal with the concerns raised by the European Data Protection Board and the Civil Liberties Committee so that we can reach equivalent levels of data protection between the EU and the US, even if that means reopening the negotiations.”

 Marina Kaljurand, S&D MEP and shadow rapporteur for the EU-US Data Privacy Framework, said:

 “I would like to recognise the Commission's negotiation efforts and the legal steps taken by the Biden Administration. But this new framework is still not enough to fill our citizens with full confidence that their rights will be adequately protected. Legal uncertainties remain, including the fact that the executive order can be overturned by the President of the United States, that access to effective judicial redress is not guaranteed, and that it is possible to collect data in bulk without strict safeguards. Therefore, I urge the Commission not to rush to adopt another adequacy decision before these legitimate concerns, as well as those raised by this House, are adequately addressed.”

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