EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding says the vote makes EU data protection reform “irreversible”
The European Parliament voted Wednesday with overwhelming support for the proposed European General Data Protection Regulation. The procedural move ensures that the regulation, which has been in legislative process for more than two years, stays on the table, even after this May’s parliamentary elections.
In approving the regulation, Members of Parliament (MEPs) also strengthened some of the data protection amendments in the proposal and backed a resolution calling for the suspension of the Safe Harbor agreement with the U.S.
“I have a clear message to the council: Any further postponement would be irresponsible,” said Jan Philipp Albrecht, the rapporteur for the regulation. “The citizens of Europe expect us to deliver a strong EU-wide data protection regulation. If there are some member states which do not want to deliver after two years of negotiations, the majority should go ahead without them.”
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding also voiced strong support for the vote. “The message the European Parliament is sending is unequivocal: This reform is a necessity and now it is irreversible.” She also said the vote “will make life easier for business and strengthen the protection of our citizens.”
In the vote, which followed a plenary debate, the European Parliament strengthened protections around data transfers of EU citizens’ data to non-EU countries; increase the potential fines to firms in breach of the regulation to €100 million, or five percent of global turnover, and ensure EU citizens have a right to be forgotten and to not be profiled.
Moving ahead, the European Parliament now waits on the Council of the EU to define its position. Once it has done so, both sides can negotiate.