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Calling for binding European rules on data protection to replace Safe Harbour Agreement

Last night the European Parliament discussed the European Court of Justice's recent ruling that found the Safe Harbour Agreement on the use of European citizens' personal data to be invalid.

In light of this ruling, GUE/NGL MEPs called for binding European rules on data protection to replace the invalid agreement.

Greek MEP, Kostas Chrysogonos, stated: “For fifteen years citizens of the European Union have been entrusting their personal data to companies with their headquarters in the United States, on the basis of the Safe Harbour Agreement. They naively believed that the Commission had carefully checked and scrutinised the details to ensure that their personal data was safe in those hands. [Yet,] European citizens have no legal guarantees and the US authorities are able to have access to EU citizens' data, basically at will. This is an opportunity for us to look again at this issue and put the citizens' rights paramount.”

German MEP, Cornelia Ernst, explained: “The European Court of Justice has made it clear that in the United States there is not sufficient protection of the data of European users. This is incompatible with European basic rights.”

“We don't need a new safe harbour, we need a binding set of regulations in Europe which make it clear that anybody processing European data must abide by European rules, with sanctions for any infringements.

“We are calling on the Commission and the member states, to make the protection of European basic rights one of the main items for discussion with the United States [on upcoming trade agreements such as TTIP]. We can't exclude citizens' rights under these agreements.”

Italian MEP, Barbara Spinelli, added: “Ordinary citizens are defending themselves and bringing about something Parliament hasn't managed to achieve with a number of resolutions.”

“In light of this ruling, it is more important than ever to take a fresh look at all our agreements in this area and promote a digital bill of rights for the European Union based on the principles already written into our charter, similar to Brazil's civil code in 2014.”

GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20