Vice-President and Justice Commissioner Vivianne Reding declared on a visit to Washington that data protection rules will not be subjected to negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). “Data protection is not red tape or a tariff. It is a fundamental right and as such is not negotiable,” she declared on 29 October.
The statement comes at a time that Transatlantic relations are under pressure due to the revelations of Edward Snowden, which took another turn when it became public that European leaders were subject to spying activity. A core problem is the Safe Harbor Agreement, which allows for European data to be transmitted to the United States. As a result of the spying scandal, the Europeans want to review the Safe Harbor Agreement. Ken Propp, a diplomat from the US Mission in Brussels, stated that the Safe Harbor Agreement has nothing to do with the NSA’s activities. “Safe Harbor is no longer safe” said Kostas Rossoglou of the European consumer organization BEUC.
October is not an ideal month for Transatlantic relations. The second round of negotiations were stalled earlier this month due to the government shut down. It seems that the NSA’s activities are another cause of problems for the TTIP.