Chapter News

EU Data protection reform on track: Commission proposal on new data protection rules in law enforcement area backed by Justice Ministers

Today, Ministers in the Justice Council have sealed an overall agreement on the EU’s Data Protection Directive for the police and criminal justice sector.

Following the agreement reached in June 2015 on the Regulation, today’s agreement means the EU is fully on track to finalise its data protection reform by the end of this year, as called for by the European Council.

Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová welcomed today’s agreement: “The right to personal data protection is a fundamental right in the EU. Victims and witnesses, but also suspects of crimes have the right to have their data duly protected in the context of a criminal investigation or a law enforcement action. The common rules and principles we have proposed will ensure that. At the same time more harmonised laws will also make it easier for police or prosecutors to work together in cross-border investigations and to combat crime and terrorism more effectively across Europe.”

The Data Protection Police Directive is a key contribution to the objectives set out in the EU’s Agenda on Security.

The Data Protection Police Directive will bring the following benefits:

  • The Directive will protect citizens’ fundamental right to data protection when data is used by law enforcement authorities –Everyone’s personal data should be processed lawfully, fairly, and only for a specific purpose. All law enforcement processing in the Union must comply with the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, with appropriate safeguards for the individuals. Supervision is ensured by independent national data protection authorities and effective judicial remedies must be provided.
  • Slashing red tape for authorities – Police and criminal justice authorities will no longer have to apply different sets of data protection rules according to the origin of the personal data, saving time and money. The new rules will apply to both domestic processing and cross-border transfers of personal data. Having more harmonised laws in all EU Member States will make it easier for our police forces to work together. The rules in the Directive take account of the specific needs of the police and criminal justice sector and respect the different legal traditions in Member States.
  • Easier and safer international cooperation – The Directive provides for general principles and clear rules for the transfer of personal data by police and criminal justice authorities outside the EU, to ensure that these transfers take place with an adequate level of data protection. The directive provides robust rules on personal data exchanges at national, European and international level.
  • Clear rules for better cooperation – EU common rules on data protection will enable police and criminal justice authorities to cooperate more effectively with each other based on mutual trust and legal certainty.

Next steps

Trilogues between the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the Directive will begin later this month. Trilogues on the General Data Protection Regulation began already on June 24 with the participation of Commissioner Jourová. The three institutions have agreed on a roadmap towards the finalisation of the reform in 2015.

Courtesy of the European Commission