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Brussels, 10 January 2013
Commission welcomes European Parliament rapporteurs' support for strong EU data protection rules
European Parliament rapporteurs today presented two draft reports on the reform of the EU's data protection rules proposed by the European Commission just a year ago (see IP/12/46 and MEMO/12/41). In their reports, Jan-Philipp Albrecht, rapporteur for the proposed Data Protection Regulation for the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament, and, Dimitrios Droutsas, rapporteur for the proposed Data Protection Directive for the law enforcement sector, express their full support for a coherent and robust data protection framework with strong end enforceable rights for individuals. They also stress the need for a high level of protection for all data processing activities in the European Union to ensure more legal certainty, clarity and consistency.
"The protection of personal data is a fundamental right for all Europeans. Opinion polls show that individuals do not always feel in full control of their data. Policy makers and companies must therefore do better," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "I am glad to see that the European Parliament rapporteurs are supporting the Commission's aim to strengthen Europe's data protection rules which currently date back to 1995 – pre-Internet age. A strong, clear and uniform legal framework will help unleashing the potential of the Digital Single Market and foster economic growth, innovation and job creation in Europe."
In their reports on the Commission's proposals for a general Data Protection Regulation and a Directive for the law enforcement sector the Members of the European Parliament support the proposed package approach. They stress the need to advance negotiations swiftly on both instruments at the same time.
The European Parliament rapporteurs, building on previous reports by the European Parliament such as the Axel Voss report (MEMO/11/489), support the objectives of the reform, which are: to establish a comprehensive approach to data protection, to strengthen online privacy rights and to do away with the current fragmentation of 27 different national data protection laws which are costly and burdensome for businesses operating on Europe's single market.
Some of the amendments which the rapporteurs of the Parliament are proposing in their reports aim at reinforcing individuals' rights, including the right to be forgotten.
Some of the key points of the rapporteurs' reports include:
Next steps: On 18 January the data protection package will be high on the agenda of the informal Justice Council taking place in Dublin.
The European Parliament plenary vote is expected around April.
The European Commission will continue to work very closely with the rapporteurs of the European Parliament and with the Council to support the Parliament and the Irish EU Presidency in their endeavour to achieve a political agreement on the data protection reform by the end of the Irish Presidency.
In the digital age, the collection and storage of personal information are essential. Data is used by all businesses – from insurance firms and banks to social media sites and search engines. In a globalised world, the transfer of data to third countries has become an important factor in daily life. There are no borders online and cloud computing means data may be sent from Berlin to be processed in Boston and stored in Bangalore.
74% of Europeans think that disclosing personal data is increasingly part of modern life, but at the same time, 72% of Internet users are worried that they give away too much personal data. They feel they are not in complete control of their data. Fading trust in online services and tools holds back the growth of the digital economy and Europe's digital single market.
On 25 January 2012 the European Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU's 1995 data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy. The Commission's proposals update and modernise the principles enshrined in the 1995 Data Protection Directive to bring them into the digital age. They include a proposal for a Regulation setting out a general EU framework for data protection and a proposal for a Directive on protecting personal data processed for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences and related judicial activities (IP/12/46).
The Commission proposals follow up on the European Parliament report by Axel Voss (MEMO/11/489) which called on the Commission to reform European data protection rules.
The right to the protection of personal data is explicitly recognised by Article 8 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights and by the Lisbon Treaty. The Treaty provides a legal basis for rules on data protection for all activities within the scope of EU law under Article 16 (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
For more information
European Parliament report on the Data Protection Regulation:
European Parliament report on the Data Protection Directive:
Press pack: data protection reform:
European Commission – data protection:
Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:
Justice Directorate General Newsroom:
Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: