Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
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Committee reports on GDPR, post-Brexit participation in EU research

In its latest report, the European Scrutiny Committee considers recent draft EU legislation and policy documents deposited in Parliament by the Government.

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Each document is accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum from the relevant Minister. The Committee examines the legal and political significance of the document and where appropriate asks further questions of the Government about its implications. The Committee also has the power to recommend documents for debate.

In its latest report, the Committee highlights the importance of several documents, and how it intends to follow up with the Government. These include:

DCMS – Review of the EU General Data Protection Regulation

Important because:

  • The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation will continue to affect how certain data for EU citizens is processed by UK businesses, data controllers and data processors after the end of the transition period.
  • The Commission’s final review of international transfers of personal data is subject to the recent CJEU ruling in Schrems II, which relates to the transfer of personal data to third countries, such as the UK after 31 December. The ruling will have considerable implications for the UK’s aim of securing data adequacy decisions from the EU in time for 1 January 2021.

Although the document does not have direct policy or legal implications for the UK, the importance of the data adequacy issue is emphasised in the Committee’s report. The Committee has therefore written to the Government seeking its view on the Schrems II ruling and the implications for the UK.

HMT – UK participation in EU programmes post-Brexit: financial contribution and role of the EU Court of Justice

Important because:

  • This document indicates what conditions the EU is likely to set for continued UK participation in research programmes after the end of the transition period.
  • In a letter to the Committee, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury argues the ultimate jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice over these programmes would not represent a breach of the Government’s red line regarding future jurisdiction of the Court over the UK as part of the future relationship agreement.
  • Nevertheless, the document raises several questions, including how future financial contributions to EU programmes by the UK will be calculated, the role of the EU’s anti-fraud body in overseeing EU programmes, and how the Government has decided to prioritise participation in certain programmes over others.

Given the wide-ranging implications of the proposals, the Committee has drawn them to the attention of several Select Committees monitoring Brexit-related matters.

DEFRA – EU Farm to Fork Strategy

Important because:

  • This new EU strategy raises the possibility of future changes to legislation that Northern Ireland would be required to follow after the end of the transition period, under the terms of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.
  • It also signals likely changes to the terms of EU-GB trade, in areas such as pesticides and nutrition labelling.

The Committee’s report details existing legislation where changes could be required as a result of this strategy, leading to divergence between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The Committee has written to the Government expressing its dissatisfaction with the Government’s Explanatory Memorandum and asking for a response to the Committee’s analysis.

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