Those praying the rise of the anti-EU brigade in last week’s Euro elections would halt the progress of the data protection reforms had better think again; with nearly 75% of the new MEPs still pro-EU, most observers believe the changes will be rubber-stamped later this year.
The proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation – first revealed in January 2012 – has been subject to one of the most intensive lobbying efforts in EU history. Some 5,000 amendments were eventually put forward.
The last batch of MEPs already voted by an overwhelming majority to pass the less business-friendly version of the EU Data Protection Regulation, much to the annoyance of the DM community, which fears that opt-in data will become a legal necessity.
The next step is for the Council of Ministers, which is made up of representatives of individual member states, and the Commission to agree their positions.
Despite the fact that there are still a number of sticking points – including whether the laws will be policed by a single data protection authority (under the so-called one-stop-shop plan) – the Council, the Commission and Parliament are expected to sit down for the so-called tripartite negotiations in December 2014.
With the legislation set to be passed in 2015, this will be followed by a two-year “grace” period to give companies the time to adapt.
The UK Coalition Government has already said it will fight to the bitter end to ensure British businesses are not adversely affected by the new laws.
German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, who has yet to discover whether he will still be head of the civil liberties (LIBE) committee, said: “Lobbyists need to understand that we’re creating a global digital standard. This is important for all of our citizens.”
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