Saturday

21st May 2022

Legal blow to opponents of data retention bill

The European Court of Justice advocate general on Tuesday (14 October) delivered a blow to member states hoping to overturn an EU law on harmonising telephone and internet data retention rules, saying the case is an internal market matter, not a justice and home affairs issue.

The directive - which was approved by a qualified majority of EU states in February 2006 - sets a time period of six months to two years during which telecom operators are to keep phone and internet data, in the name of fighting terrorism and crime and increasing security.

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

Irish telecoms operators and internet service providers currently face tougher rules and must keep the data for up to three years, according to the Irish Times.

Consequently, Ireland, backed in its position by Slovakia, wanted the rules to be subject to justice and home affairs provisions, rather than to internal market ones.

In the realm of justice and home affairs, a unanimity of member states is needed for directives to be approved, whereas a qualified majority of EU countries is sufficient to pass an internal market one.

But EU advocate general Yves Bot on Tuesday "invite[d] the court to dismiss the action, taking the view that the directive was correctly based on the EC Treaty," a court press release reads.

Mr Bot estimates that the bill "does not contain any provisions liable to come within the notion of 'police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters'," and is primarily an internal market issue.

"As regards Ireland's argument that the sole or main purpose of the directive is the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime, the advocate general … considers that the mere fact that the directive refers to such an objective is not sufficient for a finding that it is an act falling within the area covered by police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters," according to the court's press release.

The advocate general's opinion is not binding on the court, but is however adhered to by the ECJ in around 80 percent of all cases. A date for the ECJ's ruling has not been set at this stage.

Hungary turned into 'hybrid regime', MEPs say

The new draft European Parliament report is an update to the 2018 report which triggered the Article 7 procedure against Hungary, a sanctions probe aiming to rein in member states that break EU rules and values.

Exclusive

EU to clean house of Russia lobbyists

Brussels is to wave goodbye to Russian lobbyists under new sanctions, ending a 20-year era of influence peddling in Europe.

MEPs urge EU not to relax policing rule-of-law amid war

European lawmakers debated the lack of progress in the EU sanctions probe against Poland and Hungary, and warned Russia's invasion of Ukraine should not be a reason to turn away from rule-breaking within the bloc.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

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. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us