Data protection package: a proposed timetable in the EP

By EDRi · September 26, 2012

This article is also available in:
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
Maze” (2012)

The entire debate is available on the Parliament website (19.09.2012)

(Contribution by Marie Humeau – EDRi)