College discusses President Juncker's upcoming State of the Union address and launches next step of EU-Japan adequacy decision on personal data protection
State of the Union Address
Following the College seminar on 30-31 August, President Juncker discussed with Commissioners the main messages of the State of the Union Address that he will deliver on 12 September in Strasbourg. The annual address will, just as last year, be accompanied by a series of proposals, which were as well discussed once more by the College members.
International data flows
Following the conclusion of the EU-Japan talks on personal data protection in July 2018, the Commission launched today the procedure for the adoption of its adequacy decision. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, briefed the College on the next steps and the Commission is publishing the draft adequacy decision and the related documents. This includes the additional safeguards that Japan will apply to EU personal data transferred to Japan, as well as commitments regarding access to personal data by Japanese public authorities for law enforcement and national security purposes, guaranteeing that their level of data protection is adequate to that of the EU's. Japan is also going through a similar process to recognise the EU's data protection framework.
To guarantee a level essentially equivalent to European standards, Japan has committed to implementing additional safeguards to protect personal data transferred to Japan, before the Commission formally adopts its adequacy decision.
Each side is now going through its internal procedures towards the final adoption of its reciprocal adequacy finding. For the EU, this involves obtaining an opinion from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the green light from a committee composed of representatives of the EU Member States. Once this procedure will have been completed, the Commission will adopt the adequacy decision on Japan.
European Citizens' Initiative
The College of Commissioners has today decided to register a European Citizens’ Initiative entitled 'End the Cage Age'. The stated objectives of the proposed Citizens’ Initiative are to end "inhumane treatment of farm animals" kept in cages. The organisers are asking the Commission to propose legislation to prohibit the use of: cages for laying hens, rabbits, pullets, broiler breeders, layer breeders, quail, ducks and geese; farrowing crates for sows; sow stalls and individual calf pens ̶ where not already prohibited. The Commission's decision to register the Initiative concerns only the legal admissibility of the proposal. The Commission has not analysed the substance at this stage. The registration of this Initiative will take place on 11 September 2018. Should the initiative receive one million statements of support within one year, from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react within three months.
Senior Management appointments
The European Commission decided to appoint Ms Anne Bucher to the position of Director-General in its Health and Food Safety department (DG SANTE) as of 1 October. Ms Bucher, a French national, has worked for the European Commission for 35 years. She has spent most of her career on management jobs in several Commission departments. Ms Bucher is currently the chair of the Commission's Regulatory Scrutiny Board. She will succeed Mr Xavier Prats Monné who will retire at the end of September.
Also today, the Commission has decided to propose to the Administrative Board of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to extend the term of office of its current Executive Director, Mr Bernhard Url, for a period of five years as of 1 June 2019. Mr Url has been managing EFSA since 2013, following a career with the Austrian food safety authorities.
Questions & Answers on the Japan adequacy decision
5 septiembre 2018