Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Commission endorses safe harbour agreement

The 'safe harbour' agreement on the processing and protection of data passing between the EU and US has moved closer to official ratification, following the endorsement of the European Commission.

Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein will now seek the support of the ...
The 'safe harbour' agreement on the processing and protection of data passing between the EU and US has moved closer to official ratification, following the endorsement of the European Commission.

Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein will now seek the support of the EU Member States in accepting the United States' proposal as providing adequate protection for the transferral of personal data from the EU to 'safe harbour' participants.

Under the EU's data protection directive, Member States must ensure 'adequate protection' for data passed to non-EU countries.

Earlier this month officials from the European Commission and the United States announced they had reached a provisional agreement on the package of proposals known as 'safe harbour' following two years of intensive dialogue, as reported in CORDIS (see RCN 14498).

Official endorsement procedures are now required from both parties. On the EU side this entails a formal decision, backed by the support of a qualified majority of Member States, and the consent of the European Parliament.

'The European Council in Lisbon said: 'the rules for electronic commerce must be predictable and inspire business and consumer confidence'', said Mr Bolkestein. 'The EU's data protection directive already delivers such rules for the Union, but we need a predictable framework for data exchanges with our major trading partners too.

'This is the first stage in putting in place such a framework vis-à-vis the US. There are several more steps to be completed, and I hope they will be completed successfully because the 'safe harbour' will help us to tap the huge potential of the information revolution by providing legal certainty for operators and privacy safeguards for consumers.'

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top