EPlenary speech: The adequate protection of personal data by the United Kingdom

Mr President


Secretary of State

Dear colleagues

We all agree that the ability to transfer personal data across borders has the potential to be a key driver of innovation, productivity and economic competitiveness, especially with close partners like US and UK.

We also agree that the free movement of personal data has to fulfil the EU standards set out in the GDPR and Law Enforcement Directive. 

And I hope that we all agree to learn from previous mistakes.  

Therefore, it is important that as the European Parliament, we make it crystal clear that any decisions to transfer data (adequacy decisions) are also in line with EU court rulings and concerns raised by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB).

In terms of the US, both – the Safe Harbour Agreement and the Privacy Shield – have been overruled by the ECJ. This Parliament had previously issued several calls to the Commission to address the problems, and now this Resolution calls for any new (personal data transfer) agreements to ensure full compliance with GDPR and every aspect of the relevant ECJ rulings.

I welcome the fact that the Commission is currently modernizing Standard Contractual Clauses and reviewing all existing adequacy decisions to ensure they are compliant with the court ruling. I wish the Commission all success in negotiations with the US. 

In terms of the UK, it has to be recognized that the UK legal framework is similar to that of the EU, but there are a number of concerns regarding its implementation, including: 

  • exemptions in the fields of national security and immigration, which now also apply to EU citizens,
  • absence of court oversight of such data policies,
  • and wide powers of the executive.

The Resolution also raises concerns over data transfer to third countries without adequacy agreements. 

To conclude – while these resolutions will not block the adequacy decisions, they call on the Commission to assure that in line with the EDPB, they should be fully consistent with Union and case law, to ensure that the personal data of our citizens is protected. 

The ball is on Commission’s court and I urge Commission to act responsibly.  

Thank you.

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