Italian EU Presidency to propose compromise on Data Protection Reform

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On 9 July 2014, the Italian Presidency of the Council organized an informal Justice Ministers meeting in Milan and it might have found a solution to overcome the impasse on the Data Protection Reform in the Council.

Since the start of the discussions on the reform, Germany has always opposed to equal treatment of the public and private sectors. In fact, Germany has stricter rules than other EU Member States on the protection of its citizens’ data on health, pensions, relations state-citizens and taxes and it wants to keep these rules at the current level of protection. The Italian Presidency now proposed to give Germany some guarantees on the treatment of public enterprises (compared with the private sector) in the future data protection regulation.If Italy finds a way to implement a solution on the public sector, Germany would be back on board in the talks.

The Italians aim to reach an agreement before the end of their Presidency in December 2014 and the Italian Justice Minister is planning to have bilateral discussions to present compromise texts to Germany. The UK, which has rejected the proposal since the beginning, could thus remain isolated together with a few other Member States in its request for a less-binding directive instead of a regulation.

In June 2014, during a Council meeting in Luxembourg, the Greek Presidency of the EU obtained a tentative agreement on two points: firstly, all firms (wherever based) doing business in the EU will have to comply with the regulation and secondly, non-EU firms active in the Union will be subject to some criteria when transferring data to non-EU states. However, an agreement on the one-stop-shop principle has not been found yet.This principle establishes that a dispute between a EU citizen and a firm would be handled by the national data protection authority in the state where the firm is established (the other authorities concerned collaborate to the resolution). But France is coming with an alternative proposal based on a system of co-decision between the different authorities concerned by a case.

Ecommerce Europe supports the efforts of the European legislators to modernize European data protection legislation. In doing so, Ecommerce Europe proposes a risk-based approach which avoids excessive administrative burdens and disproportionate sanctions.

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