Free Flow of Data: INTUG Signs Joint Industry Letter + VP Ansip Weighs in During Speech

“Removing existing data localization rules would bring the EU’s economy an estimated EUR 8 billion of additional economic activity annually. Preventing unjustified data localization would save the EU economy EUR 52 billion per year”. These are just a few of the arguments laid out in a letter signed by INTUG and many other industry associations, which was sent to the Ministers of the EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council, encouraging them to vote for an ambitious EU legislative proposal.

In the letter, the organizations highlight the importance of the Single Market and the risks of unjustified data localization requirements within the EU. These include impeding the flow of services, goods and capital between Member States. The associations call for the development of a Regulation aimed at fulfilling the the common message expressed in May 2016 by 14 Member States urging that “data can move freely across borders...by removing all unjustified barriers to the free flow of data”.

On the same day the letter was sent (30 November 2016), Vice-President Ansip spoke at the European Centre For International Political Economy (ECIPE) seminar on the free flow of data. He called for a fluid market, explaining “Most economic activity will depend on data within a decade. But if data cannot move freely, its growth potential is limited.” Localization rules are holding back the Digital Single Market, he insisted, and specified that “the question is not whether to act – but when to act, and how to act.”

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