European Commission expected to approve UK-EU data transfers

The European Commission is expected to decide this week that data protection standards are high enough in the UK to allow personal data transfers between the UK and the EU to continue.

The adequacy assessment has huge significance for businesses operating across the UK and the EU. It has attracted especially great interest due to the striking down of two consecutive EU-US data transfer agreements by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Data transfers between the UK and the EU are currently governed by an interim data agreement which expires at the end of June 2021. This was established during the Brexit process to provide enough time for the adequacy assessment to take place.

The Financial Times reports that it has seen a draft adequacy decision which is expected to be approved by the European Commission this week. It will then be scrutinised by the European Data Protection Board, which does not have veto powers.

However, the arrangement would be reviewed every four years and could also be subject to litigation, as has happened with the EU-US agreements.

Solicitor and data protection expert Simon McGarr, who was one of the panellists in an Irish Legal News webinar on data protection last summer, tweeted: “Huge news, most unlikely to stand unchallenged.”

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