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EU, U.S. data transfer pact seen in 1st qtr 2023 - EU justice chief

·2 min read

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, June 16 (Reuters) - The European Union and United States may be able to clinch a data transfer deal in the first quarter of 2023 to replace the pact scrapped by Europe's top court two years ago, European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said on Thursday.

Europe's top court in 2020 took the side of Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems who had campaigned against Meta's Facebook for privacy violations and warned about the risk of U.S. intelligence agencies accessing Europeans' data.

The EU and United States reached a provisional deal in March following U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Brussels, with both sides saying they had taken into account the court's concerns and had included stronger legal protections.

"We are waiting for the draft text on the executive order implementing act," Reynders told reporters.

Once the EU gets the text, it will have to take into account the views of national data protection regulators, EU countries and EU lawmakers to secure a final legal deal in a process lasting about six months, he said.

"I would say it's more for the end of the first quarter of next year than before," Reynders said, referring to a new data transfer pact.

Thousands of companies are using data transfer tools known as standard contractual clauses to transfer data around the world for services ranging from cloud infrastructure, data hosting, payroll and finance to marketing.

Reynders also pushed back against calls by some critics of landmark EU privacy rules known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for reforms because of the slow pace of investigations and uneven enforcement across the bloc.

"I am sure it will be a Pandora Box to try to open a discussion about the GDPR," he told a conference organised by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).

"And for the moment, I want to say the GDPR for the moment, it is a child," he said. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Richard Chang)