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VP Reding Hails EU-US Trade Deal Benefits; Stressing Need for Privacy & Data Protection

Vice-President Viviane Reding delivered a speech at an event on “Towards a more dynamic Transatlantic area of growth and investment” organized by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and the Union’s diplomatic mission in Washington D.C..

Women in Economic Decision-making: Viviane Reding

Here are some key extracts:

1/ On the recent US-spying revelations:

Friends and partners do not spy on each other. For ambitious and complex negotiations to succeed there needs to be trust among the negotiating partners. It is urgent and essential that our [US] partners take clear action to rebuild trust.

2/ On the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and data protection:

There are challenges to get it [the TTIP] done and there are issues that will easily derail it. One such issue is data and the protection of personal data.

I warn against bringing data protection to the trade talks. Data protection is not red tape or a tariff. It is a fundamental right and as such it is not negotiable.

3/ What Europe expects from the US to fix the damaged trust:

Once a single, coherent set of rules is in place in Europe, we will expect the same from the US. Inter-operability and a system of self-regulation is not enough.

Including a legal provision on judicial redress for EU citizens, regardless of their residence, in the forthcoming US Privacy Act is an essential step towards restoring trust among partners.

4/ On Safe Harbour:

The existing scheme has been criticised by European industry and questioned by European citizens: they say it is little more than a patch providing a veil of legitimacy for the US firms using it. Data flows between the EU and the US must therefore rely on solid legal foundations on both sides. The on-going data protection reform will be the foundation on the European side of a solid data bridge that will link the US and Europe. We expect the US to quickly set its side of the bridge. It is better to have steady footing on a bridge than to worry about the tide in a ‘Safe’ or, after all, not so ‘Safe’ harbour.

Full speech is available on RAPID: SPEECH/13/867