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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 26 March 2013

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding and Ronan Dunne of Telefónica stress importance of EU data protection reform

In the margins of an event on the EU data protection reform, Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner will meet Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefónica UK to discuss the importance of the Commission’s proposed reform of EU data protection rules (see IP/12/46 and IP/13/57) for the ICT sector.

Ahead of the meeting Vice-President Reding and Mr Dunne said:

We share the view that a single Data Protection Regulation, which strengthens and builds on the existing EU data protection framework, is essential to facilitate a level playing field for the ICT industry.

What we need for Europe is a deal that is good for citizens and that is good for business.

The new rules will help realise the potential of the internal market for digital content and services and will enhance European industry's competitiveness while at the same time, encourage more consumers to embrace internet and take-up digital services, in line with the Digital Agenda goals."

Vice-President Reding added: "The European Commission is designing rules that strengthen data protection and are at the same time good for businesses, especially for SMEs. Our rules make sure that there is no unnecessary administrative burden for companies. We have for example proposed that a group of undertaking may appoint one single data protection officer.

We are also creating a 'one-stop-shop' for data protection in the EU. Data protection compliance will be simpler than ever before. The Commission has calculated that the revamped rules can save companies up to EUR 2.3 billion per year. The benefits of such a one-stop-shop should also be available to groups of undertakings, such as Telefónica to make exchange of information within such a group easy."

Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefónica added: “The key challenge for all of us is to get the right regime - one that respects citizens’ rights to privacy whilst enabling the innovation that will lead to the creation of the next wave of internet applications for the 4G networks we are now building.“

Background

The European Commission will continue to work closely with the telecoms industry to create the right legal framework for a competitive telecoms sector that can take advantage of the EU's Digital Market.

The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) of which Telefónica is also a member already expressed its support for uniform EU data protection rules that create a level-playing field (see MEMO/13/86). Work in the European Parliament on the data protection dossier is progressing swiftly: last week the Legal Affairs committee (JURI) backed the main innovations of the EU data protection reform (see MEMO/13/124). The votes in the JURI Committee followed the publication of the draft reports on the reform of the EU's data protection rules by the LIBE Committee’s rapporteurs on 10 January 2013 (MEMO/13/4) and the votes in the ITRE (MEMO/13/124), EMPL and IMCO Committees. The LIBE Committee (which is the lead Committee) will then vote on its own report in spring 2013.

The Council of Ministers is also working full-speed on the reform proposals with the Irish Presidency of the EU aiming for a political deal by the end of their Presidency. At the Justice Council in March, Justice Ministers and the Commission agreed to continue work on a risk-based approach calibrating the obligations of businesses to the nature of the data and to the purposes of the processing (see SPEECH/13/209). Significant progress was also made on addressing the issue of flexibility for the public sector within the proposed Regulation.

Further information

Press pack – EU data protection reform:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/data-protection/news/120125_en.htm

European Commission – Protection of personal data:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/index_en.htm

European Parliament – Report on the Data Protection Regulation:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/libe/pr/922/922387/922387en.pdf

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/reding/index_en.htm

Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU

Ronan Dunne – Chief Executive Officer Telefónica UK Limited

Ronan joined O2 prior to demerger from BT in 2001 and became CEO of Telefónica UK in January 2008. Prior to O2, Ronan held senior financial positions in Banking and the Corporate sector, most recently at Exel plc. He was born and educated in Ireland and moved to the UK in 1987.Ronan is Chairman of Tesco Mobile, Telefónica's highly successful joint venture with Tesco and a non executive former director of Amobee Inc, the company defining mobile advertising. Ronan chairs Telefónica UK's Sustainability Taskforce and sits on Telefonica Europe’s Executive Committee.

Ronan is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) and of the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT).


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