Wednesday, 23 Jun 2021

‘Democracy has bitter taste!’ MEP erupts at ‘blinkered’ EU and orders bloc to ‘grow up’

Michiel Hoogeveen discusses EU's 'blinkered policy'

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And Michiel Hoogeveen has said the reluctance to back the European Commission’s draft Implementing Decisions on the adequate protection of personal data in the United Kingdom has left a “bitter taste”. Speaking in the European Parliament today, Mr Hoogeveen said: “Brexit was a democratically made decision.

“But to a large extent for the Parliament Brexit is and remains an unacceptable reality.”

He explained: “Today we are talking about the approval of the passing on of data protection being made possible and authorised between Europe and the UK.”

The UK had “very high standards in the field of data protection, sometimes even more stringent than in the EU”, Mr Hoogeveen stressed.

However, he added: “And yet a number of my peers are using this to strip any content in this legislation through this blinkered policy.

“Democracy has a bitter taste to it.

“A professional and a grown-up approach to protecting people, that is what a true democrat would be concerned with and in this Parliament of course we need to live up to that.”

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Speaking to Express subsequently, Mr Hoogeveen said it was “very important for business” that the European Parliament voted in favour of the Commission’s adequacy decisions.

He added: “The UK has adopted the GDPR in its own legislation.

“This means that British legislation is maximally the same as European legislation, but more is not formally possible.

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“The level of data protection in the UK is with that again equal to the level it had when it not yet was part of the EU.

Explaining why it was crucial to resolve the situation, Mr Hoogeveen said: “Adequacy decision-making is urgent as the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement expires at the end of June.

“Continuity of the data flows between the UK and the EU is essential for trade between the EU and the UK, which requires an adequacy decision.”

Speaking ahead of a final vote at the end of this week’s latest plenary session, he said: “In view of the great importance of the vote and given the arguments given, we need to vote in favour of recognising the adequacy tomorrow.

I call upon my peers to vote in favour and refrain from childish behaviour

Michiel Hoogeveen

“However, certain parties in parliament are against it, simply because of Brexit.

“I call upon my peers to vote in favour and refrain from childish behaviour that blocks vital trade and dataflow.”

The Commission published its draft decisions in February in a move that was welcomed at the time by the UK Government.

Secretary of State for Digital Oliver Dowden said: “I welcome the publication of these draft decisions which rightly reflect the UK’s commitment to high data protection standards and pave the way for their formal approval.

“Although the EU’s progress in this area has been slower than we would have wished, I am glad we have now reached this significant milestone following months of constructive talks in which we have set out our robust data protection framework.

“I now urge the EU to fulfil their commitment to complete the technical approval process promptly, so businesses and organisations on both sides can seize the clear benefits.”

The EU already recognises other countries around the world as adequate including Argentina, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and Uruguay – and the UK freely exchanges data with these countries.

Positive data adequacy decisions under both the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Law Enforcement Directive (LED) would allow for personal data to continue to flow freely from the European Union (EU) and wider European Economic Area (EEA) to the UK.

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