Tuesday

21st Aug 2018

Focus

EU takes step towards free flow of data

  • The idea of free flow of non-personal data means that information from one EU country should be able to be stored or transferred seamlessly to a server in another EU member state (Photo: European Union)

Ambassadors for the 28 EU countries embraced the idea of allowing non-personal data to flow freely across the bloc on Wednesday (20 December), by adopting a common position on a European Commission proposal.

"Seamless data mobility saves costs for businesses, especially for start-ups and SMEs, and is essential for many next-generation digital services," said Estonian minister for information technology Urve Palo in a statement.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Estonia holds the six-month EU presidency until the end of December.

In the Council of the EU, diplomats on Wednesday adopted their desired version of the legislative proposal, which allows Estonia's successor, Bulgaria, to start talks over the final bill with the European Parliament.

The council has some changes it wants to make, and it can be expected of MEPs that they too will table amendments.

But the council embraced the principle of the draft bill, which is that non-personal data should be allowed to cross EU borders without restrictions, except in cases where the restriction is there for public security.

It will mean that EU member states that have laws restricting companies or organisations from storing data abroad, will have to change these laws.

They also will not be allowed to introduce new laws that would restrict data flows, except when public security is concerned. Governments would have to inform the commission and provide a justification.

The commission proposed that all laws and rules clashing with this principle of free flow of non-personal data should be repealed within twelve months of adoption of the regulation. The council proposed to give governments twice as much time.

The council also opposed the commission's idea to set up a Free Flow of Data Committee, and deleted the paragraph establishing such a body from its version.

The council decision on Wednesday came 98 days after the commission published its proposal, which is fast by the standards of the EU bubble.

It now needs to wait for the EU parliament to come up with its position, before the EU institutions can negotiate over the final outcome.

The MEP who was appointed to be in charge of steering the file through parliament on 25 October, centre-right Swede Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, has not yet written a draft report.

The file was initially attributed to the parliament's industry committee, and then to Corazza Bildt's internal market committee.

A draft report would need to be discussed and then voted on in the committee, and possibly in plenary, before talks can begin.

EU government leaders said in a summit last October that the legislative work should be done by June 2018.

Watchdogs concerned by EU-US data pact

European data protection authorities tell US to improve oversight on 'Privacy Shield' scheme, otherwise they would go to the EU's highest court.

Some EU states face delays in 5G preparation

National governments secured a one-year extension for publishing plans to make radio frequencies available for mobile communications - but some were nevertheless unable to meet the deadline.

Exclusive

EU official proposed covering up wifi portal flaw

Director of Electronic Communications Networks and Services Anthony Whelan says in an internal document that he wanted to eliminate "possible criticisms" and "marginalise questions".

News in Brief

  1. Italy threatens to return migrants to Libya
  2. MEP accuses Maltese government of 'hate campaign'
  3. EU values not negotiable, German FM tells Poland
  4. Audit warns 840 French bridges at risk of collapse
  5. Fashion king pours money into campaign for second Brexit vote
  6. Germany could aid Turkey, SPD leader hints
  7. UK government set to publish no-deal Brexit advice
  8. Germany and Greece strike deal on taking back migrants

Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?

The success of the new general data protection regulation (GDPR) will depend on whether data protection authorities enforce the new rules - which, in turn, will be at least partly determined by how many people they employ.

Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline

The EU starts enforcing its general data protection regulation on 25 May - but Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia won't be ready. The delay will cause legal uncertainty.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. Wind delays launch of European wind-mapping satellite
  2. Greece 'normal' again after end of crisis, EU says
  3. Putin strikes blow against Russia's isolation by Europe
  4. EU-China cooperation on CO2 storage lost in limbo
  5. Greece exits bailouts, but difficult path ahead
  6. EU gets record response on 'summertime' consultation
  7. 'Nativism' and the upcoming Swedish and Bavarian elections
  8. Former Malta opposition leader fears for his life

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us