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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Vice-President Reding in Washington D.C. to negotiate EU-US data protection agreement for law enforcement purposes

Vice-President Reding and Attorney-General Eric Holder

Vice-President Reding is in Washington D.C. today attending the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial. Vice-President Reding and Attorney-General Eric Holder will notably discuss the ongoing negotiations on a data protection agreement when cooperating to fight terrorism or crime. Vice-President Viviane Reding said ahead of the meeting: "A meaningful agreement has to give European citizens concrete and enforceable rights, notably the right to judicial redress."

Negotiations on an agreement between the EU and U.S. were launched on 28 March 2011 and, after more than 15 negotiating rounds, are still on-going.

Underlining the importance of judicial redress rights for European citizens, Vice-President Reding said: "Every U.S. citizen in the European Union already enjoys this right, irrespective of whether he or she is resident in the EU. But European citizens who are not resident in the U.S do not enjoy this right. It is important that a European boarding a plane in Rome or searching the web from his home in Germany has a right of judicial redress in the U.S. whenever their personal data are being processed in the U.S. We need to conclude the umbrella negotiations swiftly, to give citizens confidence – confidence that their rights are protected. This will contribute to restoring trust in transatlantic relations, which is of particular importance at this moment in time."

The Ministerial will also allow each side to update on the data protection legislative processes. The U.S. is expected to inform the EU about the latest legislative developments on consumer data privacy – following President Obama's announcement for a Privacy Bill of Rights.

In turn, Vice-President Reding intends to debrief her US counterparts on the latest state of play on the EU's data protection reform, especially following the European Parliament's vote backing the data protection reform proposed by the European Commission in January 2012 and the European Council of 24 and 25 October 2013 on the Digital Single Market, which underlined the importance of a "timely ” conclusion of the European legislative process on the new data protection legislation.