Europe Direct data protection privacy statement


Processing operation: Europe Direct Contact Centre

Data Controller: Directorate-General Communication; Strategy & Corporate Communication; Unit “Interinstitutional Relations, Corporate Contracts EDCC”

Record reference: DPR-EC-00080


The European Commission (hereafter ‘the Commission’) is committed to protect your personal data and to respect your privacy. The Commission collects and further processes personal data pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data (repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001).

This privacy statement explains the reason for the processing of your personal data, the way we collect, handle and ensure protection of all personal data provided, how that information is used and what rights you have in relation to your personal data. It also specifies the contact details of the responsible Data Controller with whom you may exercise your rights, the Data Protection Officer and the European Data Protection Supervisor.

The information in relation to processing of data in connection with the free information service “Europe Direct Contact Centre”, undertaken by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communication and its unit ” Interinstitutional Relations, Corporate Contracts & EDCC” is presented below.

Why and how do we process your personal data?

The DG Communication Unit “Interinstitutional Relations, Corporate Contracts & EDCC” (referred to hereafter as the Data Controller) collects and uses your personal information in order to provide you with direct, personalised answers to general questions on the EU. In particular, we need to store your contact information in order to be able to reply to you.

Your personal data will not be used for an automated decision-making, including profiling.

On what legal ground(s) do we process your personal data?

We process your personal data, because:

  • processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the Union institution or body;
  • the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes.
    This is in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, in particular article 5(1).

Which personal data do we collect and further process?

In order to carry out this processing operation, we collect the following categories of personal data:

  • The provision of certain personal data is mandatory in order for the Europe Direct Contact Centre to be able to reply to your question.

    The personal data collected and further processed are:

    • name and surname
    • contact details (e-mail address, nationality, country of residence)
    • preferred and alternative contact languages.

Depending on the type of request, more specific personal data (e.g. telephone number if you contact us by phone) or facts related to your question (e.g. an EU programme you take part it) may be requested.

  • In addition, should you tick the optional checkbox “I authorise the European Commission to add my e-mail to the Europe Direct mailing list” available on the enquiry form, your personal data will be added to the mailing list. The Europe Direct mailing list service allows you to receive information on the EU occasionally.

How long do we keep your personal data?

We only keep your personal data for the time necessary to fulfil the purpose of collection or further processing, including handling of later complaints, namely for maximum 3 years after the date that you submitted an enquiry to the Europe Direct Contact Centre.

How do we protect and safeguard your personal data?

All personal data in electronic format (e-mails, documents, databases, uploaded batches of data, etc.) are stored either on the servers of the European Commission or of its contractor who helps operate the Europe Direct Contact Centre (Communi-K, a consortium between Serco Belgium and Tipik). All processing operations are carried out pursuant to the Commission Decision (EU, Euratom) 2017/46 of 10 January 2017 on the security of communication and information systems in the European Commission.
The Commission’s contractors are bound by a specific contractual clause for any processing operations of your data on behalf of the Commission, and by the confidentiality obligations deriving from the transposition of the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU Member States (‘GDPR’ Regulation (EU) 2016/679).

In order to protect your personal data, the Commission has put in place a number of technical and organisational measures in place. Technical measures include appropriate actions to address online security, risk of data loss, alteration of data or unauthorised access, taking into consideration the risk presented by the processing and the nature of the personal data being processed. Organisational measures include restricting access to the personal data solely to authorised persons with a legitimate need to know for the purposes of this processing operation.

Who has access to your personal data and to whom is it disclosed?

Access to your personal data is provided to the Commission staff responsible for carrying out this processing operation and to authorised staff according to the “need to know” principle. Such staff abide by statutory, and when required, additional confidentiality agreements.

The Commission officials in charge of the Europe Direct Contact Centre have access to your data. Your enquiry is stored on the server of the contractor based in Belgium and, where appropriate, may be forwarded to an official at the EU institution or body who should be able to answer it.

If your enquiry is about your rights under EU law, it may be redirected to another European Commission service, Your Europe Advice (see YEA privacy statement).

If it appears you need the help of national authorities to solve your problem, your enquiry may be transferred to SOLVIT, a problem-solving network that deals with problems between individuals or companies and the authorities in another country, in cases where there is a possible misapplication of EU law (see SOLVIT privacy statement).

If your enquiry concerns the European Parliament, it may be redirected to the Citizens’ Enquiry Unit (Ask EP) of the European Parliament. Likewise, enquiries received by Ask EP may be redirected to the EDCC.

The information we collect will not be given to any third party, except to the extent and for the purpose we may be required to do so by law.

What are your rights and how can you exercise them?

You have specific rights as a ‘data subject’ under Chapter III (Articles 14-25) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725, in particular the right to access, rectify or erase your personal data and the right to restrict the processing of your personal data. Where applicable, you also have the right to object to the processing or the right to data portability.

You can exercise your rights by contacting the Data Controller, or in case of conflict the Data Protection Officer. If necessary, you can also address the European Data Protection Supervisor (see Contact information below).

Where you wish to exercise your rights in the context of one or several specific processing operations, please provide their description (i.e. their Record reference as specified under “Where to find more detailed information?” below).

Contact information

The Data Controller

If you would like to exercise your rights under Regulation (EU) 2018/1725, or if you have comments, questions or concerns, or if you would like to submit a complaint regarding the collection and use of your personal data, please feel free to contact the Data Controller, Directorate-General Communication, unit “Interinstitutional Relations, Corporate Contracts & EDCC“.

The Data Protection Officer (DPO) of the Commission

You may contact the Data Protection Officer with regard to issues related to the processing of your personal data under Regulation (EU) 2018/1725.

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)

You have the right to have recourse (i.e. you can lodge a complaint) to the European Data Protection Supervisor if you consider that your rights under Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 have been infringed as a result of the processing of your personal data by the Data Controller.

Where to find more detailed information?

The Commission Data Protection Officer (DPO) publishes the register of all processing operations on personal data by the Commission, which have been documented and notified to him. You may access the register via the following link

This specific processing operation has been included in the DPO’s public register with the following Record reference: DPR-EC-00080.