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European Commission - Statement

Joint Statement on the final adoption of the new EU rules for personal data protection

Brussels, 14 April 2016

European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Vice-President in charge of the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, and Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová made the following statement:

"The European Commission welcomes the final adoption of the new EU data protection rules by the European Parliament, following the adoption by the Council last Friday. Today's vote marks a significant achievement, and the culmination of over four years of hard work with the European Parliament, the Council, business, civil society and other stakeholders.

The new rules will ensure that the fundamental right to personal data protection is guaranteed for all. The General Data Protection Regulation will help stimulate the Digital Single Market in the EU by fostering trust in online services by consumers and legal certainty for businesses based on clear and uniform rules.

The Data Protection Directive for police and criminal justice authorities ensures a high level of data protection while improving cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime across Europe. These new rules come at a time when improved cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime is more necessary than ever, as shown by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.

These rules are for the benefit of everyone in the EU. Individuals must be empowered: they must know what their rights are, and know how to defend their rights if they feel they are not respected.

Our work in creating first-rate data protection rules providing for the world's highest standard of protection is complete. Now we must work together to implement these new standards across the EU so citizens and businesses can enjoy the benefits as soon as possible."

Background

Proposed by then EU Justice Commissioner, Vice-President Viviane Reding in January 2012 (see IP/12/46), the data protection reform package includes the General Data Protection Regulation and the data Protection Directive for Police and Criminal Justice Authorities. It updates and replaces the current Data protection rules that are based on the 1995 Data Protection Directive and the 2008 Framework Decision for the police and criminal justice sector. The Data protection package is a key enabler of the Digital Single Market and the EU Agenda on Security.

Today's adoption means a robust level of EU data protection standards will become the reality in all EU Member States in 2018.Member States have two years to apply the Data Protection Regulation and to transpose and implement the "Police" Directive. This timeframe gives Member States and companies sufficient time to adapt to the new rules.

The Commission will work closely with Member States to ensure the new rules are correctly implemented at national level. We will work with the national data protection authorities and the future European Data Protection Board to ensure coherent enforcement of the new rules, building upon the work of the Article 29 Working Party. The Commission will also engage in open dialogue with stakeholders, notably businesses, to ensure there is full understanding and timely compliance with the new rules.

General Data Protection Regulation

Citizens will have more information on how their data is processed, presented in a clear and understandable way. They will have the right to know as soon as possible if their data has been hacked or disclosed. The "right to be forgotten" will be clarified and strengthened. Already in the EU, individuals have the right, under certain conditions, to ask that search engines remove links leading to personal information about them. This right however must be well balanced against the right to freedom of expression. It will also be easier for people to transfer their personal data between service providers such as social networks – thanks to a new right to "data portability".

Businesses will also benefit greatly from the new rules. The reform will boost legal certainty for businesses, with a single set of rules across the EU. Thanks to the one-stop-shop, companies will only have to deal with one single supervisory authority – rather than the 28. This, together with the simplifications brought by a single Regulation, will save an estimated €2.3 billion every year. With the new rules, non-EU companies will have to apply, when offering their services to customers in the EU, the same rules as EU companies; thus creating a level playing field. The new rules are also future-proof: technologically neutral and fit for innovation and big data analytics. The new rules encourage privacy-friendly techniques such as pseudonimysation, anonymisation, encryption and data protection by design and by default.

Police and Criminal Justice Authorities Directive (Data Protection Directive)

The new Police and Criminal Justice Authorities Directive will allow for smoother exchange of information between Member States' police and judicial authorities. Criminal law enforcement authorities will no longer have to apply different sets of data protection rules according to the origin of the personal data. This will save time and money and increase the efficiency in the fight against crime. Having more harmonised laws in all EU Member States will make it easier for our police forces to work together.

For more information

MEMO: Q&A on Data Protection reform

Data protection factsheets

EU data protection

STATEMENT/16/1403

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


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