Brexit committee calls for urgency on adequacy deal
As the Government is rocked by top-level resignations over its Brexit plan, the Exiting the EU Committee has published a new report on data flows and data protection once the UK leaves the EU next year, calling on the EU Court of Justice to continue to have jurisdiction over aspects of data legislation in the UK.
The report reinforces the view that the ability to move data between the UK and the EU is hugely important, particularly in the services industry, with 75% of the UK’s cross border data flows being with EU countries.
The Committee also recommends that the UK begins the process of applying for an "adequacy" decision without delay.
However, adequacy decisions are notoriously hard to achieve and are currently only held by a few countries, including New Zealand, Switzerland and Argentina.
The Committee’s recommendation comes partly because the EU Commission’s current negotiating position is not to offer the UK a legally binding agreement.
It says that, although it hopes the Commission will change its mind, the UK should start its adequacy application soon because the process could take several years. The Committee recommends continuing to explore the possibility of a bespoke agreement, which could ultimately replace an adequacy decision.
In May, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator in the Brexit talks, ruled out any UK involvement in the new European Data Protection Board – which succeeded the Article 29 Working Party when GDPR came into force.
In a further blow, Barnier also said that the once the UK leaves the EU on March 29 2019, Britain will be relegated to “third country” status, a major threat to the UK achieving an “adequacy” agreement.
Whether this is the simply political posturing, however, remains to be seen. Brexit negotiations are still ongoing.