Friday

27th May 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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commission proposed that all laws and rules clashing with this principle of free flow of non-personal data should be repealed within twelve months of adoption of the regulation.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.

EU reaches deal on flagship cybersecurity law

The European Parliament and EU member states have reached an agreement over new rules intended to protect Europe's public and private critical entities from cyberattacks.

Stakeholder

The CPDP conference wants multidisciplinary digital future

During the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) conference, many high-level discussions will touch upon the dynamics of decision-making in the design of new technologies, including the importance of inclusion, diversity, and ethics perspectives within these processes.

EU Commission won't probe 'Pegasus' spyware abuse

The European Commission says people should file their complaints with national authorities in countries whose governments are suspected of using an Israeli-made Pegasus spyware against them.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us