Wednesday

30th Nov 2022

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

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

  • 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.

Catalan spyware victims demand justice

Victims of the widening spyware scandal in Spain are demanding justice and reparations, following the revelations that journalists, lawyers, civil society and politicians had been targeted.

EU Commission to keep Hungary's EU funds in limbo

The EU executive, on the other hand, is expected to approve Hungary's recovery plan, worth €5.8bn, but only would disburse actual money if Hungary delivers on some 27 key reforms.

Catalan spyware victims demand justice

Victims of the widening spyware scandal in Spain are demanding justice and reparations, following the revelations that journalists, lawyers, civil society and politicians had been targeted.

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine
  2. Catalan spyware victims demand justice
  3. Is the overwhelming critique of Qatar hypocritical?
  4. EU carbon-removal scheme dubbed 'smokescreen for inaction'
  5. EU lawmakers under pressure to act on 90,000 asbestos deaths
  6. Post-COP27 optimism — non-Western voices are growing
  7. Legal scholars: Prosecuting Putin 'legally problematic'
  8. A missed opportunity in Kazakhstan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us