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European Council Taps the Breaks–Adoption of EU General Data Protection Regulation Delayed

Posted in European Union

Only a few days after the leading parliamentary committee waved through the proposed amendments to the European Commission’s legislative proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation (see here and here), the EU Member States’ governments have decided to postpone the adoption of the Regulation to 2015.  Germany and the UK, in particular, supported the delay, albeit for different reasons. The UK called for the delay because it is concerned the proposed Regulation contains too much red tape; Germany, on the other hand, wants to ensure that the new legal framework continues to ensure a high level of protection for its citizens.

This decision is a blow for the Commission and the Parliament, which had pushed hard for an adoption of the proposed Regulation in 2014, before the end of the current legislative period. However, plenty of issues need to be resolved, positions reconciled and compromises found before the new legal framework will see the light of the day.

This process will not be made easier by the fact that all three important players in the so-called “trilogue” process — the Parliament, Council and Commission — will undergo some important reshuffling in the course of the next year. Greece will take over the presidency of the Council from Lithuania as of January 1, 2014. Parliament will effectively exit from the negotiations with the Council and Commission for some time next year. (The last plenary session of the Parliament is scheduled for April before the elections in May, and the constituent session of the new Parliament takes place on July 1, 2014 – which is in the middle of the summer holiday period.)  And a new Commission, once voted in by the Parliament, will enter into office on November 1, 2014.

In light of all these changes, the commitment to 2015 for the adoption of the proposed Regulation still looks rather ambitious.  According to press reports, however, the Commission still considers it possible that the proposed Regulation be adopted in 2014.