Thursday

16th Aug 2018

EU data bill delayed until after May elections

The EU's revamped data protection law will not be adopted before the European Parliament elections with several member states seeking to weaken it.

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding, the European Parliament lead negotiators on the package, the Greek EU presidency and the incoming Italian EU presidency Wednesday (22 January) agreed to set the deadline until before the end of the year.

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

  • The EU data protection bill has been delayed as member states fail to reach any agreement (Photo: infocux Technologies)

“They have elaborated a road map and now they need to deliver on it basically but I think the political agreement to get this done before the end of the year is there,” Reding’s spokesperson Mina Andreeva told this website.

German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, who is steering the regulation through parliament, said the timetable aims at a mandate for negotiations in June and the beginning of inter-instutitional negotiations in July.

“If it will be possible to stick to this timetable, this would be good news and important,” he told this website in an email.

But the deadline agreement does not guarantee the package, which includes a general data protection regulation and a directive on law enforcement, will be adopted.

Member states still have to reach a general approach before kicking off negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The parliament and the commission had hoped to get the package adopted before the European elections in May.

The civil liberties committee last October was given the mandate to start negotiations right away but member states at a summit in December failed to reach an agreement among themselves.

The delay means deputies will now have to vote to start formal negotiations with member states at the plenary session either in March or in April.

EU insiders are hoping the member states will at least reach a partial approach in March and then a full agreement over the summer.

The delays are caused, in part, by a handful of member states that want to weaken the regulation, which aims at harmonising data protection rules across the bloc.

Among the core group is the UK, along with Denmark, Hungary, and Slovenia. All four are pushing to turn the regulation into a directive.

Unlike a regulation, a directive gives member states room to manoeuvre and interpret the EU law to their advantage.

Germany is also among the delaying camp of member states but for different reasons. The Germans support the regulation but do not want it applied to the public sector.

“Obviously the German government is against European-wide common rules. This behaviour is irresponsible against the EU citizens,” said Albrecht.

Support from Poland, seen a staunch ally of the reforms, is also waning, according to their data protection authority Wojciech Wiewiorowski.

Wiewiorowsk, at a panel on data protection organised by the CPDP conference in Brussels on Wednesday, said the European commission had exhausted its political will to pressure member states to get the package adopted.

He said support in Poland is dropping because the regulation, announced two years ago by the commission, is taking too long.

Member states in October had agreed that the data protection package should be in place by the latest in 2015.

EU court scraps data surveillance law

The EU court has struck down a law on internet and phone surveillance, saying loose wording opens the door to untoward snooping.

EU Commission skirts Italy sanctions on Roma evictions

The European Commission, as guardian of the treaties, declines to sanction Italy's treatment of the Roma following a forced eviction on Thursday of some 300 from a camp in the outskirts of the Italian capital.

News in Brief

  1. Salvini questions EU 'constraints' after bridge collapse
  2. Bosnian Serbs to rewrite 1995 Srebrenica genocide report
  3. Malta to allow Aquarius migrants to disembark
  4. Juncker sends condolences over Genoa bridge collapse
  5. EU pledges €500,000 more for Indonesian earthquake island
  6. EU commission in talks with states on new Aquarius migrants
  7. Man held after car crashes into UK parliament security barrier
  8. Brexit delays better readability of medicines' instructions

Opinion

The systemic risk that Europe has to face

One of the biggest systemic risks across Europe, illustrated by Hungary and Poland, is the dominance of the executive power over the judiciary and informal channels of political dependency.

Schengen at stake in Austria-Germany talks

German interior minister Horst Seehofer is in Vienna on Thursday - as his plan to reject some asylum seekers was met by an Austrian threat to close its borders too.

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. US trial sheds light on murky Cyprus-Russia links
  2. Burned cars fuel Swedish election debate
  3. EU court to hear citizens' climate case against EU
  4. How long can Bulgaria keep facing both East and West?
  5. EU commission steps up legal case against Poland
  6. Separation of powers instead of 'Spitzenkandidat' process
  7. Revealed: ExxonMobil's private dinner with Cyprus' top EU brass
  8. What Salvini teaches us about Operation Sophia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us