In a keynote speech today before the 37th International conference of Privacy and Data Protection Commissioners in Amsterdam, EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová reiterated the commitment of the European Commission to completing discussions with the United States on a replacement framework for the U.S.-EU Safe Habor.
Commissioner Jourová noted that, in the wake of the European Court of Justice’s October 6, 2015 judgment in the Schrems case (C-362-14), the Commission had stepped up discussions with the United States at the political level as well as the technical level. There is now an intensive schedule for discussions over the coming weeks, and in mid-November Commissioner Jourová will meet with U.S. policymakers to take stock. The Commissioner was generally optimistic about the prospects for agreement on a new framework, though she noted that, among other things, the Commission needs clarification on the scope for U.S. disclosures of personal data for national security and law enforcement purposes.
Commissioner Jourová stated that the Commission will shortly issue an explanatory Communication on the consequences of the Schrems judgment, which will provide some guidance for businesses on international transfers of personal data post-Schrems.
The Commission’s keynote speech very closely tracked a report she gave in Strasbourg earlier this week, on October 26, to the European Parliament’s Justice Committee (LIBE). Commissioner Jourová’s remarks in Strasbourg were hailed in the press as signaling agreement between the U.S. and EU on a new Safe Harbor. While such reports were premature, Commissioner Jourová’s public statements this week underline that the Commission understands the need for a new framework to legitimize transatlantic transfers of personal data from Europe to the United States.