Today, on International Data Protection Day, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have reiterated their pledge to strengthen EU citizens' privacy rules.

S&D Vice-president, Sylvie Guillaume, said:

"Now, more than ever, data protection is an issue in citizens' everyday lives, although, European citizens are not always aware of or familiar with their rights in this respect.

"Data Protection Day should serve to raise public awareness of how personal data is processed and an individual's rights in regard to this.

"While negotiations on the reform of the data protection package are still on-going at EU level, Socialists and Democrats want to ensure citizens maintain control of their personal data and that non-European companies comply with European data protection law in the European market.

"In this context, we deeply regret that the Commission continues to ignore Parliament's repeated calls to take a strong stance regarding European data protection standards and in particular, to suspend the Swift agreement until we can all be sure, as European citizens, that trust has not been breached ".

S&D Dimitrios Droutsas, EP rapporteur on the new draft rules on data protection and transfer, said:

"From multinational companies to the last home computer user, everyone should understand their rights and consciously manage their personal data. The NSA scandal has highlighted the extreme importance of having a proper data protection legal framework. It is now vital to adopt the data protection package as soon as possible.

"The current legal framework has proved to be neither efficient nor trustworthy and our citizens need to be reassured, today more than ever, that their privacy is safeguarded. The EU, its institutions and Member States are called upon to bring the reform of our current data protection regime to a successful conclusion.

"We in the European Parliament have risen to the challenge and have fulfilled our task. Now, European citizens expect the Council and Member States to do the same".

S&D Claude Moraes MEP, Rapporteur for the European Parliament LIBE Inquiry into the mass electronic surveillance of EU citizens said:

Today is another reminder of the high standards of data protections and safeguards that exist for EU citizens. We must continue to work towards protecting the rule of law and the fundamental right to privacy of EU citizens and work with our US partners to ensure that these rights are respected and upheld. 

The revelations by Edward Snowden over the past 7 months have highlighted the crucial need for the US to restore trust with the EU and strengthen our transatlantic partnerships. One key aspect of this is for the European Commission to conclude negotiations on the ongoing EU-US agreement on data transfer for law enforcement purposes that will finally provide judicial redress for EU citizens.

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