Brussels mandarins are holding urgent talks in a bid to rescue the proposed new EU data laws, amid plans to rubber-stamp a “light” version of the Regulation, leaving the next intake of commissioners and MEPs to fill in the blanks.
Time is running out before the next European elections in April – which will see a shake-up of all the committees and new MEPs voted in – and officials are desperately searching for a way to save face.
The claims are made within a white paper, written by Ce´dric Burton, a senior associate and Anna Pateraki, an associate, with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati LLP in Brussels.
They cite three main issues with the progress of the new laws. They state: “First, although the Parliament has discussed the whole Regulation, the large number of proposed amendments is raising substantial difficulties.
“Second, the Council is only halfway through with the Regulation, and its work is dependent on each of the six month presidencies, creating uncertainty every six months.
“Finally, with the Parliament elections approaching, the staffing of the political groups within the Parliament will likely be reassessed, and it seems doubtful that all the persons in charge of the Regulation will remain assigned to the project.”
They go on to claim that the “light version” of the Regulation would contain only the core data protection principles and leave space for future specific legislation.
The Commission could also then renegotiate the EU’s Safe Harbour agreement with the US, which has been dubbed “not fit for purpose” since the US Prism spying scandal was exposed earlier this summer.
They conclude: “Although the EU institutions are optimistic about finalising the amendments and entering into informal negotiations with the Commission in autumn 2013, a final adoption of the text before the Parliament elections in 2014 is more and more uncertain. The coming months will be crucial for determining the future of the EU data protection reform.”
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