Document shows Commissioner Malmström secretly working with the U.S. to undermine data protection regulations

The former Home Affairs Commissioner has been systematically undermining the work of her own commission, and would be unfit to defend EU citizens’ interests as Trade Commissioner.

Brussels – On July 14, Access obtained a document from the U.S. Department of Commerce that sheds light on the lobbying against the EU’s Data Protection Reform effort. The document, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and published this morning in Der Spiegel, shows that Commissioner Cecilia Malmström worked with the US administration to undermine elements of the proposal, putting into question her ability to defend EU citizens’ interests.

“The fact that Commissioner Malmström colluded with U.S. partners to oppose needed privacy reforms in the EU is a profound betrayal,” says Raegan MacDonald, European Policy Manager at Access. “Our representatives are supposed to defend our rights, not undermine them.”

This document raises serious questions regarding Ms. Malmström’s passive stance towards U.S. authorities following recent mass surveillance disclosures. For instance, DG Home abruptly concluded an ongoing investigation regarding the U.S. administration’s compliance with the Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme despite the clear need for clarification on whether or not and to what extent E.U. citizens’ personal data had been unlawfully accessed.

“Malmström’s approach to the U.S. following the disclosures on mass surveillance has been weak. Now we know why,” said MacDonald.

Cecilia Malmström is now Commissioner-designate for Trade. If the EU Parliament approves her nomination, she will be tasked with leading the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TTIP talks have so far been conducted behind closed doors, making it near impossible for citizens to participate and engage in the process. Short of obtaining an accountable negotiation process, EU citizens, at the very least, need to have their representatives stand by them.

“This document reveals that approving Malmström as Commissioner for Trade could be destructive for the EU,” continued MacDonald.

On Monday, Sept. 29th, as part of the Commission designation process, the European Parliament will hold a three-hour public hearing to question Commissioner-designate Malmström. Access strongly urges European Parliamentarians to consider the implications of this document when they decide whether to confirm Malmström in the European Commission.