Data protection package: a proposed timetable in the EP
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Deutsch: EU-Datenschutzpaket: Fahrplan für das Europaparlament
Last week, on 19 September 2012, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee discussed the data protection package, in particular the planned timetable.
LIBE is the Committee leading the dossier in the European Parliament and will issue two reports, one on the proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation ( “the Regulation”) and one on the proposal for a Directive “on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data” (“the Directive”).
The two Rapporteurs, Mr Jan-Philipp Albrecht (Greens, Germany) for the Regulation and Mr Droutsas (S&D, Greece) for the Directive, decided to follow a package approach because of the important links between the two proposed legislative measures. However, Mr Droutsas underlined the difficulties that the Council seems to encounter on the Directive with the position of certain Member States. The joint parliamentary meeting taking place on 9 and 10 October is going to be crucial in solving this issue, he added. Because of the problems in the Council, the feasibility of the package approach was questioned by Mr Alvaro (ALDE, Germany) – even though he recognised the benefit of such an approach - and Mr Kirkhope (ECR, United Kingdom).
The cooperative approach of the dossier, desired by the Rapporteurs, was warmly welcomed by the other members of the European Parliament from all political groups. Important issues were underlined several times during the debate such as the importance of a good implementation and of a strong enforcement of data protection, the need for clarity, the necessity of protecting fundamental rights and finally the issue of data flow to third countries. Even if no final agreement on those issues was found during the debate, the debate was very helpful to understand the forthcoming steps in the process.
Mr Albrecht indeed presented his forecasted timetable for the Regulation. The current plan is to have the Regulation definitely voted before the end of this legislature, i.e. in 2014. To achieve this goal, he would like to provide a second working paper for the joint parliamentary meeting taking place beginning of October. At that time, the paper will be available only in English and will subsequently be translated for a debate in the Committee that will take place on 5 or 6 November 2012. The Rapporteur intends to have a draft report ready by December of this year, so the vote can take place between February and April 2013, to enable negotiation with the Council later on.
The envisaged timeframe is very important as it gives a great perspective on the forthcoming steps.
However, this timetable is foreseen as being very ambitious by Mr Alvaro, Mr Kirkhope and Mr Voss (EPP, Germany), the “Shadow Rapporteurs”. During the debate, they expressed the necessity to favour quality over speed. It is a very important issue and the process should not be rushed.
Mr Albrecht concluded by underlining the importance of a coherent and harmonised framework and the necessity of consolidating the current system of data protection. Good legislation needs good implementation and a strong enforcement system. EU citizens have to be protected when their data are processed, he said. Therefore, he agreed that if more time was needed to make a good and strong legislation, then this time will be taken.
More information on the procedure being followed and a glossary of the
key terminology is available in EDRi’s “Activist Guide to the Brussels
The entire debate is available on the Parliament website (19.09.2012)
(Contribution by Marie Humeau - EDRi)