Sophie in 't Veld and Marietje Schaake submitted the following written question to the Commission:
On 20 December the Commission recommended the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations in order to conclude agreements between the EU and eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa allowing the exchange of personal data between Europol and the respective competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism.
- Will the Commission carry out impact assessments in order to assess in depth the risks posed by transfers of personal data to each third country for individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection, but also for other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, in order to be able to define the precise safeguards necessary, as recommended by the EDPS? If not, why not?
- Does the Commission consider the levels of data protection and fundamental rights and freedoms high enough to serve as adequate safeguards in the context of law enforcement in these countries where the UN has pointed to grave deficiencies in basic human rights?
- In 2015 the European Parliament requested the creation of an independent expert group to carry out a Fundamental Rights Review of EU data collection instruments and programmes. Why does the Commission not await the review of Europol agreements with the Western Balkan countries and Ukraine, before recommending negotiations with eight other countries, of which some have a questionable human rights record?
 The eight countries include Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Turkey
 The United Nations Committee Against Torture has pointed to grave deficiencies in some of the eight countries in relation to reported cases of acts of torture and ill-treatment, the conditions of places of detention, the use of coerced evidence, and the lack of basic safeguards for detainees.