LORDS

EUNAVFOR MED Operation SOPHIA

On 17 May 2018, the Committee considered the Proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for a Council Decision on the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia), which would allow Operation Sophia to host a Crime Information Cell (CIC).

The Committee agreed to hold the item under scrutiny and write to the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, to ask a number of questions, including:

  • How the data shared through the proposed CIC will be protected, and whether the UK is satisfied with the provisions on data protection currently included in the proposal.
  • Whether the UK would be able to participate in Operation Sophia, and access CIC data, during the transition period from March 2019 to December 2020, and whether the UK would seek to gain access after the end of the transition period.
  • What the timeline will be, should the CIC model be expanded to other CSDP missions and operations, and what criteria will be applied to measure its success.

The Committee decided to clear the item from scrutiny on 14 June 2019.

Letter from the Minister

Within his letter dated 31 May 2018, the Minister responded to the Committee’s questions with the following:

  • Personal data will be processed in accordance with the national law of the Flag State of the ship on which the CIC is hosted. The UK Government is satisfied with the data protection provisions included in the proposal. Possible redress could be sought through the Data Protection Commissioner of the Flag State or the Data Protection Officer of either FRONTEX or Europol. The European Data Protection Supervisor has overall responsibility and offers another opportunity for redress.
  • Operation Sophia is not open to third countries. During the transition period, the UK will be treated as a Member State. Further participation is subject to negotiations.
  • The CIC has a six-month trial period, with a review after four months. This trial will inform how the model could be applied to other missions.

To read the Minister’s full response to the Committee’s questions, please see his letter to the Committee below.

Letter to the Minister

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