Today, at the Telecommunications Council meeting, the new Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, announced that the European Commission will present a revised ePrivacy proposal under the Croatian Presidency of the EU, after previous talks ended in a deadlock and failed to produce a preliminary agreement (general approach) among Member States. Following the meeting, at the press conference, Breton was slightly more nuanced, saying that “all options are open”. It thus remains unclear whether a new proposal will actually be presented.
Ecommerce Europe would welcome the launch of a new proposal on ePrivacy. It would be a positive outcome in line with the demands of Ecommerce Europe, which were reiterated in a joint industry letter at the beginning of October (see here).
These were the main highlights from the Council meeting of this morning:
- Thierry Breton stated that the process would not start completely “from scratch” and that the work done so far on ePrivacy was not for nothing.
- The European Commission plans to put a new proposal on the table for the next Croatian presidency. The proposal is supposed to match all Member States’ concerns and interests, because of the urgency to act in this field. Breton stressed that many are waiting for this reform to be completed and that a way forward must be found. He also stated that it should complement the GDPR.
- Calls to rework and rethink the proposal had come from some Member States, including the Czech Republic, Portugal, Austria and France. They stated that it would be preferable to take up the debate again with a new legal draft. Countries also pointed out that the Regulation should be technologically neutral, future proof and clear in terms of its scope and measures.
- Breton is confident that he can find common ground between Member States and he is ready to help find consensus among all parties.
Croatia, which joined the EU only in 2013, will likely find it challenging to find a consensus among Member States unless the Commission comes up with a new proposal that effectively reflects the several opinions of EU countries.