Justice and Home Affairs Council fails to agree on key provision of tough new EU data protection rules, negotiations on hold


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At the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 6 December fundamental differences of opinion emerged between Council delegations on a key provision of the Commission's Proposal. Ambitions for adopting an agreement with the Parliament before the May 2014 deadline are now unlikely to be realised.

In the absence of a consensus on how to implement the “one-stop-shop” rule (one single data protection authority for business competent of hearing privacy complaints raised by citizens across the EU) and in light of diverging opinions from the legal services of both the Council and the Commission, Member States concluded that more discussions were necessary to find an agreement.
Juozas Bertanotis, the Lithuanian minister for Justice and the current Council Chair, said after the meeting that: “We prefer a strong agreement to a fast one, and must work to ensure a proper balance between business interests and fundamental rights of citizens.

WFA, both unilaterally and as part of the Industry Coalition for Data Protection (ICDP), has been advocating for key players within the Commission, Parliament and Council to prioritise quality over speed in order to ensure that the final legislative text achieves the right balance between the protection of personal data and the ability of companies to continue operating and innovating. The latest Council meeting indicates that this message is one with which the majority of the Council now agrees.

Discussions in the Council will continue during the forthcoming Greek Presidency however the next Parliament will most likely be responsible for concluding the negotiations on this dossier following the elections. Once the new Parliament is formed, the Presidents of each political group will review each outstanding dossier, including the Data Protection Framework, in order to decide whether to resume from where the previous Parliament left off (first draft adopted in LIBE Committee) or to begin from scratch.

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