On 8 July 2016, Member State representatives (the Article 31 Committee) approved the final version of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, to permit transatlantic transfers of personal data from the EU to the U.S.  The Privacy Shield will replace the invalid Safe Harbour Agreement, to ensure high standards of data protection for transatlantic transfers of data for commercial purposes.

When the draft legal texts of the Privacy Shield were published by the European Commission on 29 February 2016, the Article 29 Working Party and the European Data Protection Supervisor and European Parliament called for the Commission to reopen negotiations with the US, to address certain deficiencies in the proposed arrangement.  Following recent negotiations between U.S. and EU, the draft Privacy Shield was amended.  The final official version has yet to be published.

Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market on the European Commission, and Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said today: "For the first time, the U.S. has given the EU written assurance that the access of public authorities for law enforcement and national security will be subject to clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms and has ruled out indiscriminate mass surveillance of European citizens’ data. And last but not least the Privacy Shield protects fundamental rights and provides for several accessible and affordable redress mechanisms".


The European Commission is expected to formally adopt the Privacy Shield early next week.