Commission issues guidance on transatlantic data transfers and urges the swift establishment of a new framework

The European Court of Justice’s ruling of 6 October on the Schrems case confirmed the Commission’s approach to review the Safe Harbour arrangement with the US so that it ensures a higher level of data protection. The Commission has stepped up talks with US authorities on a new framework and issued today guidance to help companies comply with the ruling and rely on alternative transfer tools. Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, said: “We need an agreement with our US partners in the next three months. The Commission has been asked to take swift action: this is what we are doing. Today we provide clear guidelines and we commit to a clear timeframe to conclude current negotiations. The EU and the US are each other’s most important trading partners. Data flows between our continents are essential for people and businesses.” Commissioner Vera Jourová, responsible for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “Citizens need robust safeguards to ensure their fundamental rights are protected. And businesses need clarity during this transition period. Our aim today is to explain under which conditions businesses can lawfully transfer data in this interim period. We will also continue to work closely with national data protection authorities, who are responsible for the enforcement of data protection law in the Member States. I have stepped up talks with the US towards a renewed and sound framework for transatlantic data flows and will continue these discussions in Washington next week.” The full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE and a Q&A has also been published here. The press conference held this morning is available on EbS.