European Commission

Weekly meeting | 06/10/2015

Internal Market, labour mobility and transatlantic data transfers discussed

The Commission held an orientation debate on the internal market and on labour mobility. It also discussed data transfers to the United States and launched a consultation on the EU's partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

Today the College of Commissioners held a comprehensive orientation debate on two related aspects of the Single Market. The Internal Market Strategy is a targeted yet ambitious set of actions to boost the cross-border exchange of goods and services. The Labour Mobility Package sets out a balanced approach aimed at promoting labour mobility whilst minimising any unintended consequences. These initiatives are two sides of the same coin: a deeper and fairer internal market. Both initiatives were announced in the Commission Work Programme for 2015. Today's holistic debate also provided a first opportunity for Commissioners to exchange views on the European Pillar of social rights set out by President Juncker during his recent State of the Union address.

Following today's ruling of the European Court of Justice on transfers of personal data to the United States in the context of the "Safe Harbour" Agreement the College debated the consequences for the European Union. In a press conference First Vice-President Timmermans said: "Today's judgment by the Court is an important step towards upholding Europeans' fundamental rights to data protection. The Court confirms the need of having robust data protection safeguards in place before transferring citizens' data. I see this as a confirmation of the European Commission's approach for the renegotiation of the Safe Harbour. We have already been working with the American authorities to make data transfers safer for European citizens. In the light of the ruling, we will continue this work towards a renewed and safe framework for the transfer of personal data across the Atlantic."

Commissioner Vera Jourová added: "We have three priorities :  First, we have to guarantee that EU citizens' data are protected by sufficient safeguards when they are transferred.  Then, it is important that transatlantic data flows can continue, as they are the backbone of our economy.  Finally, we will work together guidance with national Data protection authorities to ensure a coordinated response on alternative ways to transfer data. This is important for European businesses."

Finally, the Commission launched a 12-week public consultation on the future of the EU's partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries after 2020, when the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement expires.


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