The birth of the EU-US Privacy Shield – Minutes of the meeting of the European Commission

On 2 February 2016, the Vice-President of the European Commission, Andrus Ansip and Justice Commissioner Vera Jouravá publicly announced the political agreement with the American government for the new EU-US Privacy Shield (press release).

Shortly before, the College of Commissioners met, chaired by President Juncker to be informed by Ms. Jourovà about the agreement reached and the coarse content of the Privacy Shield. In addition, the College established the general guidelines on how to proceed. The protocol for this session has now been published (pdf). Some excerpts from the minutes of the meeting:

First Vice-President Frank Timmermans

referred to the American authorities‘ proposal to set up a mediation structure for legal challenges by European citizens concerning access to their personal data for national security purposes. He stressed that the structure would be under the responsibility of the American Secretary of State, as confirmed to him by Mr John Kerry. On a more general note, Mr TIMMERMANS considered that the arrangement met the criteria set out by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Schrems case (C-362/14).

Vice-President Andrus Ansip

considered the acceptance of this package at the highest political level to be further evidence of the binding nature of the future agreement. To conclude, he stated that, for all these reasons, the future arrangement would be fundamentally different from the one which had preceded it.

Commissioner Vera Jourová

mentioned the explanations and assurances provided by the American authorities to show that access to data for national security purposes was restricted, under American law, to what was strictly necessary and proportionate.

suggested calling it the ‘EU-US Privacy Shield’ and possibly designing a label for it, to be displayed by undertakings that adhered to its protection standards.

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