Who said Brussels is boring?
We talked about the vote in the Parliament earlier this week already and we were waiting for the European Council conclusions. Well, Heads of States and Government have just declared that “the timely adoption of a strong EU General Data Protection framework is essential for the completion of the Digital Single Market by 2015.”
As some of us know, a draft text prepared by the Council was suggesting the adoption next year of the regulation. While the wording “next year” was already quite vague as a deadline (before or after the EP elections?), the text officially adopted today removes a deadline entirely thus showing the reluctance amongst member states to commit to a firm timeline.
And now, what’s next? The Parliament wants to enter negotiations with Council and Commission to wrap up the text next year. I feel that besides Poland and France there is no other member state that really wants to rush the legislation. We know that industry has been calling for a deeper discussion given the complexity of this dossier. This week I saw a few reactions from civil society groups and activists and, funnily enough, they now somehow agree with industry by saying that the legislation should not be rushed (they complain about the secrete tripartite negotiation that could allow to adopt the text).
The final interesting bit of info is that the rapporteur Albrecht stated during this week’s press conference that the European Parliament will hold a plenary vote in April (TBC) on the regulation, either on the text adopted in committee or on the compromise text emerging from the trialogue (if they reach a deal). To me this means the following: if Albrecht is reelected during next year’s EP elections he might regain the role of rapporteur on the data protection dossier. This means that, should the EU Institutions have to start looking at the dossier again in 2014, the European Parliament will already have its official report that then the Council will have to deal with. Stakeholders’ reactions to the LIBE text have not been that positive so this means that we will stick to the text we have seen adopted.