Commission presents a set of concrete actions with the aim of protecting citizens' privacy and making the EU's Digital Single Market a reality before the end of 2018
The Commission presented today its contribution to the informal discussion that Heads of State and Government will hold in Sofia on 16 May 2018 on the need to complete a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefits of all. Strengthening the protection of personal data in the EU is a major priority for the Commission.
Through the General Data Protection Regulation citizens will be able to benefit from stronger protection of personal data through better control over how personal data is handled by companies and public administrations alike, including the need for users' clear consent for processing their personal data; more clarity about the privacy policies of companies; swift notification of harmful data breaches without delay. This is why the Commission is inviting EU leaders to ensure that national authorities urgently put in place all the remaining steps necessary to prepare for the application of the new rules in all Members States.
Alongside the General Data Protection Regulation, the ePrivacy Regulation proposed in January 2017, currently under negotiation in the European Parliament and the Council, is essential so that the confidentiality of Europeans' online communication is not breached. The new rules will apply both to traditional telecoms operators and online services, such as emails, instant messaging or online voice services. This means that without users' consent, no service provider would be able access the devices they use. The Commission is therefore urging the Council to swiftly agree on its negotiation position on the ePrivacy Regulation, so that negotiations with the European Parliament can start by June 2018, with a view to the adoption by the end of 2018.
In order to complete a functional Digital Single Market the Commission is inviting EU leaders to discuss and give their strategic orientation with a view to:
- Mobilising the necessary public and private investments to deploy artificial intelligence, 5G connectivity networks, high-performance computing.
- Ensuring that the Regulation on free flow of non-personal data, designed to further develop the European data economy, is agreed by co-legislators by June 2018.
- Similarly, the Electronic Communications Code, aiming at boosting investment in high-speed and high-quality networks across the EU, should also be finalised by June 2018.
- Helping Member States equip Europeans with the digital skills they will need in today's and tomorrow's digital economy and society.
More generally, all other pending Digital Single Market proposals should be agreed by the end of 2018, in line with the call of the European Council of October 2017. These include, for instance, the modernisation of EU copyright rules to protect creators online better and facilitate the access to European works across borders.
15 May 2018