Viviane Reding, the EC chief in charge of privacy and the main architect of the EU Data Protection Regulation, has jumped on the bandwagon over the US Prism-gate row by issuing a call to arms to Eurocrats to push through the new laws as quickly as possible.
Her comments follow German chancellor Angela Merkel’s pledge to back stricter privacy regulation in light of the snooping scandal and are likely to strike fear into those who have spent months trying to water down the over-prescriptive measures.
Negotiations over the new laws have stalled over the past few months, amid claims there will not be an agreement before elections to the European Parliament next May. But it is said Reding hopes to create the political momentum to pass the legislation earlier than expected.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Reding said: “Europe must stand united on this matter which is at the heart of European values, which concerns directly the fundamental rights of EU citizens and which is in addition of great importance for the European single market.”
The FT claims Germany’s determination to get a deal, as well as a shift in the position of several leading MEPs, could see EU member states reach an agreement at a meeting of heads of state in October.
However, with a final vote being delayed at least three times already, this could be a tall order. There are more than 3,000 amendments to the EU Data Protection Regulation on the table, although negotiations are taking far longer than the EU envisaged, sparking warnings that the proposals are “on the verge of collapse”.
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