On 23 May, ministers from fourteen European Union Member States have signed a joint letter calling on the European Commission and the Netherlands, who currently hold the rotating presidency of the Council, to loosen restrictions on data flows.
In the letter, the signing ministers ask that it “be ensured that data can move freely across borders, both within and outside the EU, by removing all unjustified barriers to the free flow of data and that regulation does not constitute a barrier to development and adoption of innovative data-driven technologies”. According to them, “Europe can benefit significantly from new data-driven technologies if the right future-proof regulatory framework is established”.
Some see this letter as a push in favour of the EU-US Privacy Shield, the new framework agreement that is aimed at replacing the EU-US Safe Harbour that was declared invalid by the Court of Justice of the EU last year.
The letter was signed by Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK; find further information in a EurActiv article here.