European Commission Issues Guidance On Transatlantic Data Flows, Wants Quick Agreement On New “Bulletproof” Safe Harbour

BY Heather Greenfield
November 6, 2015

Brussels – The European Commission today issued guidance to companies after the European Court of Justice invalidated the 15 years old EU-U.S. Safe Harbour framework which EU and U.S. big and small companies depend on for transatlantic commercial data transfers.

The new Communication confirms the position taken by the Article 29 Working Party, that “transatlantic data flows between companies can continue to flow using other mechanisms for international transfers of personal data”

Commissioner Jourova will next week meet with her U.S. counterpart with the ambition to conclude a new “bulletproof” framework “as soon as possible” and “within three months.”

The U.S. is Europe’s biggest trading partner.  A more widespread halt of EU data transfers to third countries could lead to major economic losses of -1,1% of EU GDP.

Vice President Ansip underscored the need to avoid a “patchwork of rules and enforcement in Europe… else the EU Digital Single Market won’t work.”  Commissioner Věra Jourová stressed that “legal uncertainty is especially a challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises.”

The Computer & Communications Industry Association welcomes today’s Communication which provides some certainty following the European Court of Justice ruling. The following can be attributed to CCIA Europe Director, Christian Borggreen:

“We encourage EU and U.S. negotiators to swiftly agree on a “bullet proof” framework for EU-U.S. commercial data transfers.  Hopefully, European and U.S. consumers and companies won’t have to wait three months for legal clarity.”

“We welcome the Commission’s guidance and commitment to continue transatlantic data flows while avoiding a patchwork of rules and enforcement in Europe.”

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