Live: MEPs debate future data agreement with US in the wake of NSA scandal 

Should an agreement on data protection with the US be suspended? ©BELGA-EASYFOTOSTOCK 

Safe Harbour is a joint agreement between the US and the EU to ensure that Europeans' data are protected, even when they are being managed by American companies outside Europe. In the light of the NSA hacking scandal, the Parliament's inquiry concluded that the agreement should be suspended. On 15 January from 15.00 CET, MEPs will debate the future of the agreement with representatives from the European Commission and the Council. You can follow the debate live on our website.

What is the Safe Harbour agreement?

The EU-US Safe Harbour agreement was signed in 2000 after two years of negotiations, requiring US companies to comply with the EU’s privacy principles when dealing with Europeans’ data. This also applies if the data aren't being dealt within the EU. The aim of the agreement was to provide an adequate level of protection when dealing with data transmitted between countries and it requires US companies to self-certify that they comply with the  rules.

What is at stake?

In the EU there are now serious concerns about the agreement’s effectiveness, especially since the NSA spying scandal. After the civil liberties committee concluded that the agreement has to be suspended, the EP will discuss its future with the Council and the Commission at the plenary.

Find out what the EU institutions have to say about the agreement by watching the debate live on our website on Wednesday at 15.00 CET . You can follow the streaming by clicking on the link on the right.