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Justice, droits fondamentaux, citoyenneté

European Parliament vote backs new EU data protection rules


The European Commission's data protection reform proposals were backed by an overwhelming majority (49 votes in favour, 1 against and 3 abstentions) in the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament. The vote is a strong endorsement of the Commission's package approach to the data protection reform, and an important signal of progress in the legislative procedure.

Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, said: "The vote is an important moment for European democracy. The European Parliament has just given its full backing to a strong and uniform European data protection law that will cut costs for business and strengthen the protection of our citizens: one continent, one law. The vote also sends a clear signal: as of today, data protection is made in Europe."

On 25 January 2012, the Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU’s 1995 data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe’s digital economy. The Commission’s proposals update and modernise the principles enshrined in the 1995 Data Protection Directive, bringing them into the digital age and building on the high level of data protection which has been in place in Europe since 1995.

To become law, the proposals need to be adopted by the European Parliament and by the Member States in the Council. The LIBE Committee has now given its strong backing to the architecture and the fundamental principles of the Commission's data protection reform proposals. This vote gives a mandate to the Rapporteurs in the Parliament, MEPs Albrecht and Droutsas, to negotiate with the Council of the EU.

Justice Ministers in the Council have already discussed the proposal; most recently on 7 October 2013 where they reached an agreement in principle on the "one-stop shop" mechanism (see Council press release and this speech). The next meeting of Justice Ministers on the data protection reform will take place on 5-6 December 2013.

The European Parliament vote also comes ahead of an important discussion by heads of state and government at the European Council of 24-25 October on how to boost growth by completing the digital single market. Commission President José Manuel Barroso has himself called for a swift adoption of the data protection reform , before the end of this parliamentary term.