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THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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EU Prioritises Transatlantic Alliance at 2020 State of the Union

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlights the importance of the EU-US bilateral partnership, including on taxation

Published on September 17, 2020

Ursula von der Leyen Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, speaking at the EU State of the Union 2020. © European Commission 2020

Yesterday, Wednesday September 16, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, highlighted the importance of the Transatlantic alliance between the EU and the United States as part of the annual State of the Union address.

Ms von der Leyen said that "As well as responding more assertively to global events, Europe must deepen and refine its partnerships with its friends and allies. And this starts with revitalising our most enduring of partnerships. We might not always agree with recent decisions by the White House. But we will always cherish the transatlantic alliance – based on shared values and history, and an unbreakable bond between our people."

Ms von der Leyen went on to remark that "So whatever may happen later this year, we are ready to build a new transatlantic agenda. To strengthen our bilateral partnership – be it on trade, tech or taxation."

The President's reference to a Transatlantic partnership on taxation comes amid ongoing work by campaign groups which have been advocating on behalf of overseas Americans and accidental Americans against FATCA regulations and their application in Europe.

In recent months, lawyer Filippo Noseda, working on behalf of a US/UK connected client known as 'Jenny', has been highlighting a number of concerns over the EU's approach to data security, and the compatability of FATCA with GDPR data privacy rules. FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, requires financial institutions to report data on US connected citizens back to the United States Government. Financial institutions based in Europe are required to comply with ther Act due to existing US-EU agreements. In September 2019, Noseda's client, Jenny, explained why FATCA can complicate the lives of US connected citizens.

Mr Noseda has written a series of letters to various figures in the UK and EU regarding concerns over data sharing between Europe and the United States, at one stage arguing that FATCA is a "Data Privacy Disaster Waiting to Happen". With EU courts also ruling on existing frameworks for Transatlantic data sharing, via the so called Schrems II Ruling, von der Leyen's State of the Union address means that discussions over the future of FATCA in the European Union and the UK are likely to continue.

To read the full EU State of the Union, go to ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/speech_20_1655. For a catalogue of Mr Noseda's correspondence on FATCA, see www.mishcon.com/news/correspondence

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