What is the role of EU Representation?

A part of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect on the first of January 2021 could’ve had an impact on certain UK firms, particularly those that have clients based in the EU but no employees or company representation in that country.

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This provision of the GDPR is referred to as European or EU Representation, because it is concerned with Brexit, the process by which the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. It is critical that you gain a better knowledge of what is going on and what it could mean for you in the future.

Although these EU additions were not considered ‘important’ at the time that the new GDPR laws were implemented in the United Kingdom on May 25, 2018, they are now considered so (we were, after all, still part of the EU at that point). As a result of Brexit having taken place we need to examine the implications more closely, and if your company needs the services of an EU Representative, you will need to hire one now.

What is the role of an EU representative?

An EU Representative must be formed in the EU, who will act on behalf of enterprises headquartered outside of the EU that wish to conduct business in the EU. The primary responsibility of an EU Representative in the United Kingdom will be to serve as a point of contact between the company and the Regulatory Authority within the relevant EU country, as well as with data subjects.

An EU representative’s responsibilities will include the following in order to complete this correctly:

  • Maintaining access to data processing records for the purposes of inspection by the Regulatory Authority
  • Preserving accurate records of all data processing operations for any business in which they are involved. Responding to requests from regulatory authorities and data subjects who have questions or concerns about data processing.

Is it necessary for your company to have EU representation?

If you own or operate a business in the United Kingdom, you may be asking whether or not you require EU representation and whether or not you should hire an EU Representative. If you sell goods or give services to customers in countries within the European Union, you will need to do so. If you do, getting in touch with us to find out more should be your first priority in order to avoid falling foul of the law.

However, there is an exception to this rule: if your company already has offices and employees in the EU, even though your head office is in the United Kingdom, you will not be required to appoint a European Union representative.

You may be penalised up to four percent of your annual worldwide turnover, or up to €20 million, if your company does not have an EU Representative and fails to comply with the legislation (whichever is higher). Potential criminal convictions, as well as the requirement to pay for any damages awarded as a result of any resulting legal cases, can potentially be imposed.

The Process of Choosing Your EU Representative

On the surface, your EU Representative can be anyone who is physically located within the EU member state from which you gather data through your business activities. If you collect data from multiple countries within the EU, you only need one person working on your behalf, as long as that representative is based in one of the countries from which you collect data. Ideally, you should choose someone who lives in the country where you do the majority of your business, but this is not required, and the decision is yours.

What JVR Consultancy Can Do to Assist You
We at JVR Consultancy are able to provide a wealth of knowledge and advise on EU representation, as well as on the regulations and guidance that have changed as a result of Brexit. If you require an EU representative, we can also fulfil this job on your behalf. To learn more, please contact us.

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