Saturday

17th Nov 2018

EU ministers to fall short on data protection bill

  • EU ministers are not expected to make much progress on the data protection reforms (Photo: luc legay)

After months of haggling and 26 meetings since January, EU ministers are unlikely to reach an agreement this week on a key component of the EU’s draft data protection bill.

National negotiators are still unclear on how to streamline data protection oversight via the bill’s so-called ‘one-stop-shop mechanism’.

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 issue had already derailed negotiations at a meeting in the Council, representing member states, last December.

“The discussion hasn’t moved on to be honest since the last Council,” said an EU official on Tuesday (3 June).

Instead, justice ministers are expected to reach a consensus on other less contentious issues when they meet Friday morning in Luxembourg to discuss the bill, which aims to turn the EU’s 1995 data protection directive into a more powerful regulation.

An EU presidency source said it “is out of the question” of finalising the one-stop-shop in Luxembourg.

The proposal is important because it harmonizes decision-making across the bloc.

It entitles EU citizens to complain about data mishandling by internet firms to their national data protection authorities instead of seeking more expensive redress in the country where the company is based.

It also allows companies to tackle EU-wide data cases through the data chief in the EU country in which they have their HQ, instead of dealing with 28 different EU authorities.

Member states in December had already clashed over the issue after the Council’s legal services said it would be overly complex and too expensive to implement.

At the time, EU commissioner for justice Viviane Reding described the blockade as a step backwards for data protection rights.

The Commission, for its part, says the one-stop-shop is needed because it will cut red tape and lead to savings for businesses.

Partial agreements are still expected.

Ministers are likely to move ahead on rules governing the transfer of personal data outside the EU.

They are also likely to agree that the reformed data protection rules should apply to all companies, even if located outside the EU.

An EU source said the expected agreements on Friday are likely to “be heavily caveated”, leaving open the possibility of changes in the future.

But any discussion on the European Court of Justice ruling against the US internet giant Google are off the table.

The court last month ruled in favour of a Spanish national for the company to delete personal data relating to him from its search results.

Google has since launched a dedicated website where EU nationals can make requests to have certain personal data de-listed.

The company on Tuesday said it had received some 41,000 requests to take down personal data in the first four days of the website’s launch, reports the Wall Street Journal.

EU ministers back key pillar in data reform bill

Member states on Thursday (4 December) reached a broad consensus on a key area of the EU’s reformed data protection bill but some problems remain for the next EU presidency to resolve.

Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources

Romania's data protection authority is headed by Ancuta Gianina Opre, who in 2017 was charged with abuse of office in her previous job. Last week, she threatened a €20m fine against journalists in their effort to uncover corruption.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us