The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights stipulates that EU citizens have the right to protection of their personal data.
The data protection package adopted in May 2016 aims at making Europe fit for the digital age. More than 90% of Europeans say they want the same data protection rights across the EU and regardless of where their data is processed.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. This text includes the corrigendum published in the OJEU of 23 May 2018.
The regulation is an essential step to strengthen individuals' fundamental rights in the digital age and facilitate business by clarifying rules for companies and public bodies in the digital single market. A single law will also do away with the current fragmentation in different national systems and unnecessary administrative burdens.
The regulation entered into force on 24 May 2016 and applies since 25 May 2018. More information for companies and individuals.
Information about the incorporation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into the EEA Agreement.
The Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive
Directive (EU) 2016/680 on the protection of natural persons regarding processing of personal data connected with criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data.
The directive protects citizens' fundamental right to data protection whenever personal data is used by criminal law enforcement authorities for law enforcement purposes. It will in particular ensure that the personal data of victims, witnesses, and suspects of crime are duly protected and will facilitate cross-border cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism.
The directive entered into force on 5 May 2016 and EU countries had to transpose it into their national law by 6 May 2018.
National data protection authorities
EU countries have set up national bodies responsible for protecting personal data in accordance with Article 8(3) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
European Data Protection Board
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) is an independent European body which shall ensure the consistent application of data protection rules throughout the European Union. The EDPB has been established by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The EDPB is composed of the representatives of the national data protection authorities of the EU/EEA countries and of the European Data Protection Supervisor. The European Commission participates in the activities and meetings of the Board without voting right. The secretariat of the EDPB is provided by the EDPS. The secretariat performs its tasks exclusively under the instructions of the Chair of the Board.
The EDPB tasks consist primarily in providing general guidance on key concepts of the GDPR and the Law Enforcement Directive, advising the European Commission on issues related to the protection of personal data and new proposed legislation in the European Union, and adopting binding decisions in disputes between national supervisory authorities.
Data Protection in the EU Institutions and Bodies
Regulation 2018/1725 sets forth the rules applicable to the processing of personal data by European Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. It is aligned with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive. It entered into application on 11 December 2018.
European Data Protection Supervisor
Regulation 2018/1725 established a European data protection supervisor (EDPS). The EDPS is an independent EU body responsible for monitoring the application of data protection rules within European Institutions and for investigating complaints.
Data Protection Officer in the European Commission
The European Commission has appointed a Data Protection Officer who is responsible for monitoring and the application of data protection rules in the European Commission. The data protection officer independently ensures the internal application of data protection rules in cooperation with the European data protection supervisor.
Standard Contractual Clauses
Following the adoption in June 2021 of two sets of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCC) (one for the use between controllers and processors within the European Economic Area (EEA) and one for the transfer of personal data to countries outside of the EEA), the European Commission published on 25 May 2022 Questions and Answers (Q&As) to provide practical guidance on the use of the SCCs and assist stakeholders in their compliance efforts under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These Q&As are based on feedback received from various stakeholders on their experience with using the new SCCs in the first months after their adoption. The Q&As are intended to be a ‘dynamic’ source of information and will be updated as new questions arise.