Agreement on Commission’s EU data protection reform will boost Digital Single Market

Yesterday, an agreement was found on the European Commission’s EU Data Protection Reform with the European Parliament and the Council, following final negotiations between the three institutions (so-called ‘trilogue’ meetings).More than 90% of Europeans say they want the same data protection rights across the EU – and regardless of where their data is processed: this will soon be a reality. The Reform package will put an end to the patchwork of data protection rules that currently exists in the EU. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, welcomed the agreement: “The agreement is a major step towards a Digital Single Market. It will remove barriers and unlock opportunities. The digital future of Europe can only be built on trust. With solid common standards for data protection, people can be sure they are in control of their personal information. We should not see privacy and data protection as holding back economic activities. They are, in fact, an essential competitive advantage. Today’s agreement builds a strong basis to help Europe develop innovative digital services.” An agreement was first reached on the General Data Protection Regulation, which will enable people to better control their personal data and allow businesses to make the most of the opportunities of the Digital Single Market by cutting red tape and benefiting from reinforced consumer trust. Another deal was struck on the Data Protection Directive for the police and criminal justice sector which ensures that the data of victims, witnesses or suspects of crimes, are duly protected in the context of a criminal investigation or a law enforcement action. These harmonised rules will at the same time facilitate cross-border cooperation of police or prosecutors to combat crime and terrorism more effectively across Europe. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality added: Today we deliver on the promise of the Juncker Commission to finalise data protection reform in 2015. These new pan-European rules are good for citizens and good for businesses. Citizens and businesses will profit from clear rules that are fit for the digital age, that give strong protection and at the same time create opportunities and encourage innovation in a European Digital Single Market. And harmonised data protection rules for police and criminal justice authorities will ease law enforcement cooperation between Member States based on mutual trust, contributing to the European Agenda for Security.” See press release here.