EU General Data Protection Regulation – First day of ‘trilogue’ discussions
Today, the first meeting between the European Parliament (“EP”), the Council and the Commission (called “trilogue”) took place with the aim of reaching an agreement on the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) by the end of the year. (For background, please see our previous post on the Council’s recently agreed general approach.) The three EU institutions also discussed the status and timetable for the trilogue negotiations on the proposed Data Protection Directive in the law enforcement context (“Law Enforcement DP Directive”).
Right after the meeting, the EP’s rapporteur on the GDPR, Green MEP Jan-Philipp Albrecht, the Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (‘LIBE’) committee, S&D MEP Claude Moraes, justice ministers from the outgoing (Latvia) and incoming (Luxembourg) Council Presidencies, and the EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, gave a joint press conference on the state of play of the talks and next steps.
At the press conference, Jan-Philipp Albrecht and Claude Moraes stressed two key principles:
The GDPR should offer a high standard of protection and its provisions should not go below the level of protection offered in the existing 1995 EU Data Protection Directive.
Both the GDPR and the Law Enforcement DP Directive constitute a package, with both to be negotiated and adopted together.
The mood at the press conference was optimistic and determined, with Mr. Albrecht noting that the three proposed texts (from the Council, Commission and Parliament) are closer than he had expected them to be and that there were more similarities than differences between the texts. Mr. Albrecht indicated that the EP was willing to be flexible in order to reach a compromise, such as on the level of fines. However, differences are expected on issues such as explicit consent, the secondary use of data and duties of data controllers.
The Council, EP and Commission have agreed on a “flexible roadmap” to conclude their negotiations by the end of the year. Already eight trilogue meetings have been scheduled for July and September alone. The Council, EP and Commission are likely to negotiate the GDPR one chapter at a time, and intend to negotiate the Law Enforcement DP Directive in parallel as soon as Council has reached a general approach. Indeed, Council must reach a general approach on the Law Enforcement DP Directive on the Justice and Home Affairs (“JHA”) Council meeting on October 8-9, 2015 at the latest, as otherwise it will not be possible to meet the end of 2015 deadline. All three institutions recognize that this is an ambitious objective, but are determined to achieve it.
At the press conference, Commissioner Jourová also presented the latest Eurobarometer report on Data Protection, which was published this month. The report explores European citizens’ views on data protection online. In Commissioner Jourová’s view, the report’s findings highlight in particular the need for further reform of the data protection landscape in Europe.