The European Commission has released a statement by EC Vice-President Viviane Reding today commenting on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Obama administration is looking to extend to EU citizens guarantees of the Privacy Act that are currently only applicable to U.S. citizens. At today’s Justice Ministerial meeting in Athens, Reding stated the following:

“The announcement made today by the Attorney General of the U.S. Mr Eric Holder to take legislative action in order to provide for judicial redress for Europeans who do not live in the U.S. is an important step in the right direction.

Legislative action by the U.S. Congress establishing enforceable judicial redress rights for Europeans in the U.S. can open the door to closing the deal on the data protection umbrella agreement.

The U.S. administration is now announcing that it will take legislative action to fill the gap between the rights that U.S. citizens enjoy in the EU today and the rights EU citizens do not have in the U.S. – something which the Commission has been arguing for during the past three years. This is an important first step towards rebuilding trust in our transatlantic relations.

Now the announcement should be swiftly translated into legislation so that further steps can be taken in the negotiation. Words only matter if put into law. We are waiting for the legislative step.”

Factsheet on EU-US negotiations on Data Protection

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