Reform or Suspension, this was my position in 2013 as Vice-President of the Commission in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship on Safe Harbor. Today, the EU Court of Justice confirms that the protection of European citizens’ data cannot stop at the American borders. We will not sign any blank check to American surveillance authorities. We will not turn Citizens’ rights into empty shells.
In 2013, I put forward a complete overhaul of Safe Harbor, including 13 recommendations aimed at setting up a more solid framework and clearly delineating citizens’ rights, governments’ role and companies’ duties. After two years of discussions, negotiations still stumble over national security on the American side. Although the rapid flow of information between the EU and the US depends on mutual trust, an agreement on these 13 recommendations would rebuild the confidence tarnished by the Snowden revelations.
Building bridges across the Atlantic is urgently needed. In the US, the protection privacy is reserved to American citizens only. In Europe, all citizens have the same rights, including the American citizens. Reciprocity must be ensured. As illustrated by the initialling of the Umbrella Agreement, the concepts in Europe and the US may be different, but they can be reconciled if negotiators show some goodwill.
I take this opportunity to welcome the efforts and the fight of Max Schrems, a good example of a citizen's initiative. Europe is not an inaccessible ivory tower. Citizens can exert influence on decisions; his engagement is a concrete evidence.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 27 Member States