June 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

U.S. to seek data protection for EU citizens

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, right, says the Obama administration will seek to introduce legislation granting European citizens the same privacy protection rights available to U.S. citizens, when their data is being transferred from the European Union to the U.S. for law enforcement purposes. (Louisa Gouliamaki / Getty Images)

Athens, Greece — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the Obama administration will seek to introduce legislation granting European citizens the same privacy protection rights available to U.S. citizens, when their data is being transferred from the European Union to the U.S. for law enforcement purposes.

The U.S. and EU have been negotiating for more than four years on the protection of personal data. Holder made the announcement Wednesday after an EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs ministerial meeting in Athens. Greece currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency.

European Commissioner for justice Viviane Reding said in a statement that Holder’s announcement was “an important step in the right direction,” but that it must be “swiftly translated into legislation.” She added that: “Words only matter if put into law.”