MEPs seek extension on response to Commission’s UK data adequacy agreement

Renew MEPs have submitted a request to the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee to hold off on adopting a motion on the UK's adequacy for EU personal data transfers until the EU's data protection watchdog has weighed in on the plans.   

MEPs want time to scrutinize the opinion of the EU's umbrella data protection body, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) on plans to issue the UK with adequacy for transfers of personal data from the EU. [Shutterstock]

EU lawmakers from the Renew group have submitted a request to the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee to hold off on adopting a position on the UK’s adequacy for EU personal data transfers until the EU’s data protection watchdog has weighed in on the plans.

In internal emails seen by EURACTIV, Renew MEPs Sophie in ‘t Veld and Moritz Körner wrote to the Civil Liberties chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar at the end of March, requesting that the committee stalls its response on Commission draft plans to issue data adequacy to the UK.

The MEPs want time to scrutinise the opinion of the EU’s umbrella data protection body, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), which is due to be presented to the committee on April 19.

EURACTIV understands that no approval has been granted on the request as yet, but as part of a coordinators’ meeting next Wednesday, a decision will be made on the extension.

Commission 'not naive' about UK's data ambitions, Reynders assures MEPs

The European Commission is ‘not naive’ to the UK’s future ambitions in the data space and will be ‘prepared’ to suspend transfers of personal data to the country should the UK in the future diverge from EU standards, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders has said.

February draft plans 

In February, the Commission issued draft adequacy approval on transfers of personal data between the EU and the UK, following the latter’s decision to withdraw from the European Union.

The decision is currently being examined by the EDPB and will also need to be fully signed off on by the 27 member states. In the meantime, a ‘bridging’ mechanism has been put in place, lasting up to six months, which allows for transfers to temporarily continue.

Commission adequacy decisions are a form of ‘implementing act’ and therefore Parliament’s power to revise or block such texts is limited. It does however have a ‘right to object’ should it believe that the EU executive has overstepped its implementing powers.

For its part, the European Commission foresees that after obtaining the green light from member states on a UK data adequacy, a final decision could be made towards the end of May or early June, Civil Liberties chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar told MEPs on Tuesday (13 April).

Regardless, a position would need to be adopted prior to the end of the six-month bridging mechanism that came into force at the start of the year, as part of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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