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  Privacy Statement

SOLVIT and Your Europe Advice (YEA)

1. Objectives

SOLVIT is a Europe-wide service that helps citizens and businesses exercise their Internal Market rights by solving problems they encounter with public authorities. SOLVIT uses a data base for requests for help in order to solve problems submitted by citizens and businesses to the European Commission and the national SOLVIT centres in all EEA Member States; the national SOLVIT centres are part of the national administrations.

Your Europe Advice is a Europe-wide service operated by European Citizens Action Service (ECAS) on the basis of a contract with the European Commission. ECAS employs legal experts who offer citizens tailored information and advice on their rights under internal market rules. Where appropriate, the citizens are directed or "signposted" to the authority or another body (at local, national or European level) that should be able to solve their particular problems. Your Europe Advice uses a database for enquiries from citizens.

Your Europe Advice and SOLVIT work closely together and provide a seamless service that addresses the needs of the applicants without requiring them to submit their queries twice. For this purpose a case may be transferred from Your Europe Advice to SOLVIT or vice versa, including the transfer of personal data from one to the other database.

2. What is the applicable law?

All processing acts within the responsibility of the European Commission are governed by Regulation 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.

All processing acts within the responsibility of the national SOLVIT centres and of the European Commission's contractor, European Citizens Action Service (ECAS) are governed by Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and the relevant national implementation acts.

3. Which data are processed?

When submitting a question or case to Your Europe Advice or SOLVIT the following personal data are processed: full name, age scale, full address, e-mail address, telephone number, economic category, nationality, and any other personal data contained in the enquiry submitted by the applicant. Where available, documents in support of the case will also be added to the file in the SOLVIT database.

These personal data are processed by the European Commission, by the national SOLVIT centres, where necessary by the public authorities involved in the case, by the European Commission's contractor, European Citizens Action Service (ECAS) and by the legal experts examining the case on behalf of ECAS.

4. What is the purpose of processing data?

These data are needed to enable the legal experts working for ECAS and the SOLVIT centres involved to try and reply to the enquiry asked and to solve the problem submitted efficiently. The data will only be used for replying to the enquiry, solving the problem, for quality control of the service provided, for statistical purposes and in certain cases, depending on the substance, as supporting evidence to address structural problems in the functioning of the internal market or produce reports.

The data are not shared with third parties for direct marketing or any other purposes.

5. Who has access to your personal data?

The following persons can have access to your personal data where this is necessary for handling your case, for quality control or for technical maintenance of the database applications:

  • European Commission staff in charge of SOLVIT and Your Europe Advice,
  • staff of the national SOLVIT centres,
  • staff involved in a case in the relevant national public authorities,
  • the technical support team of the European Commission,
  • specifically designated ECAS staff,
  • staff of its technical contractor,
  • the legal experts responsible for replying to the enquiry on behalf of ECAS.

6. How long will your data be stored?

All personal data stored are erased not later than 3 years after the case has been closed or after the reply. This is to allow follow-up when there are new developments after the closure of the case. After this retention period case information is only kept in anonymous form for statistical purposes. However, supporting documents that are part of the case file and which may also contain personal data will be kept for as long as necessary to address more structural problems in the functioning of the internal market, unless you object to further use of these details for that purpose. In that case, supporting documents will also be deleted from the database.

7. Can you refuse processing of your personal data?

SOLVIT is aimed at solving specific problems for individual citizens or businesses. In most cases it will therefore be very difficult to obtain a positive outcome without the specific details of the case including personal data such as contact details. Nevertheless, the system allows the input of cases where all personal details regarding the client are withheld from the so-called Lead SOLVIT Centre charged with solving the problem. In such cases only the Home SOLVIT Centre and the European Commission staff in charge of SOLVIT have access to the data that identify the client.

Your Europe Advice is aimed at providing specific advice to individual citizens. This is done by experts who need access to the enquiry including any personal data of the citizen that are necessary to analyse the situation and answer the question. For this purpose a detailed description of the specific circumstances of the citizen and either an e-mail address or a telephone number will be essential.

8. Which security measures are in place against unauthorised access?

Access to the personal data in the SOLVIT and Your Europe Advice databases is only allowed to a restricted group as described above under point 5 "Who has access to your personal data?". Access to personal data requires a user ID and a password and, for the SOLVIT database, partially also an additional digital code similar to that used in personal computer banking systems. The SOLVIT system is also partially protected by https, a special, secure internet protocol.

9. Access to your personal data

You have no direct access to your personal data stored in the SOLVIT and Your Europe Advice databases. If you want to know which of your personal data are or have been processed or wish to modify or delete such data, please contact the SOLVIT or Your Europe Advice team at the address below in point 11.

If your case has been dealt with by a national SOLVIT centre you can ask the Home SOLVIT Centre handling the case for a full record of all information included and may request that incorrect data are corrected or deleted.

10. Additional information

In addition to these Privacy Statement the "important legal notice" ( applies.

11. Contact

Dedicated mailboxes are available for all queries regarding SOLVIT and Your Europe Advice addressed to the European Commission. The designated officials within the Commission service in charge of the mailbox will process your personal data only to the extent necessary for responding to your query. If the service is unable to respond, it will forward your message to another service inside the Commission. You will receive a message informing you about this.

We will not forward your message to anyone outside the Commission, but if contacting a third party is the best way of dealing with your query, we will advise you to do so directly. The messages and related data are stored as long as necessary to respond to them and, depending on the substance, for any follow-up that may be needed beyond the initial reply.

If you want to receive regular news about SOLVIT, you can subscribe to an e-mailing list. All news messages will include instructions on how to unsubscribe from the list. Access to the mailing list is limited to the European Commission staff responsible for SOLVIT. E-mail addresses on the list will not be shared with other services within the Commission or with third parties for direct marketing purposes.

SOLVIT and Your Europe Advice are managed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Internal Market and Services, Single Market Assistance Services Task Force. The responsible person (controller) is the respective Head of the Task Force.

The contact address for SOLVIT and Your Europe Advice is:
European Commission
Internal Market and Services Directorate General
Single Market Assistance Services Task Force
B-1049 Brussels

If you want to file a complaint against any data processing act executed under the Commission's responsibility you may contact the European Data Protection Supervisor:
European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)
60 rue Wiertz (MO 63)
B-1047 Brussels
phone: +32 2 283 19 00
fax: +32 2 283 19 50