Documents considered by the Committee on 6 January 2016 - European Scrutiny Contents


1   Data Protection in the EU

Committee's assessment Legally and politically important
Committee's decisionNot cleared from scrutiny; recommended for debate in European Committee C (decision reported on 16 December 2015); further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Joint Committee on Human Rights; the Culture, Media and Sport Committee; the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and the Justice Committee
Document details(a) Proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation;
(b) Proposal for a Police and Criminal Justice Data Protection Directive; (c) Commission Communication on the functioning of Safe Harbour
Legal base(a)Articles 16(2) and 114(1) TFEU; ordinary legislative procedure; QMV; (b) Article 16(2) TFEU; ordinary legislative procedure; QMV; (c) —
DepartmentCulture, Media and Sport
Document Numbers(a) (33649), 5853/12 + ADDs 1-2, COM(12) 11;

(b) (33646), 5833/12 + ADDs 1-2, COM(12) 10;

(c) (35609), 17069/13, COM(13) 847

Summary and Committee's conclusions

1.1  The Commission initially proposed the Data Protection package, comprising the General Data Protection Regulation (document (a)) and the Police and Criminal Justice Data Protection Directive (document (b)), in January 2012. This was to update the EU's 1995 data protection rules in line with technological developments in the use of personal data and to strengthen online privacy rights, increase consumer confidence, boost growth and address divergent national implementation of the existing rules. Document (c) comprises a review of the Safe Harbour Decision which used to provide the legal basis for the transfer of personal data of EU citizens for commercial purposes to US companies. Last October, the CJEU in its judgment in Schrems[1] invalidated this Decision for breach of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and negotiations on a second, replacement Safe Harbour Decision are ongoing. Parliamentary scrutiny of the Data Protection package has been extensive, as detailed in paragraphs 1.8-1.10 of our last Report.[2]

1.2  In view of the imminent agreement of the Data Protection package in final trilogues on 15 and 17 December and an expected Coreper meeting before Christmas, we decided in our last Report[3] to recommend these documents for debate in European Committee C, asking the Government to organise the debate as far in advance of expected final adoption at the March JHA Council. We wanted to enable Members to question the Government further about whether and how its "serious reservations" about the General Approach to the proposed Regulation have been addressed in the final text and also about any material, residual concerns about the proposed Directive. We also asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Intellectual Property at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) for a further, detailed update in January, which should help determine what final information we might require from her in advance of the debate.

1.3  The Minister now writes to update us on the outcome of the final trilogue meeting on the proposed Regulation which took place on 15 December. She tells us that although the Government managed to prevent a requirement for under 16 year olds to obtain parental consent before using most Internet websites, it also supported the agreed text in the absence of a blocking majority. She says that she will write with a more detailed further update, including on the proposed Directive in January.

1.4  We thank the Minister for her letter and note that she will provide us with a more detailed update in January, on both the Regulation and the Directive. When she does so, we would be grateful if she could clarify whether the Government support for the Regulation text not only in the context of the final trilogue but also in Coreper meeting which was planned to be held before Christmas.

1.5  We draw all the documents and this Report to the attention of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, the Justice Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Full details of the documents: (a) Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data: (33649), 5853/12 + ADDs 1-2, COM(12) 11; (b) Proposal for a Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data: (33646), 5833/12 + ADDs 1-2, COM(12) 10; (c) Commission Communication on the Functioning of the Safe Harbour from the Perspective of EU Citizens and Companies Established in the EU: (35609), 17069/13, COM(13) 847.

The Minister's letter of 17 December 2015

1.6  In her letter, the Minister says that she is writing to provide us with an update on negotiations on the proposed Regulation:

"You will probably have noticed that the press and media are saying that this Regulation has been agreed. However, this is not a formal agreement. Rather, it is just a conclusion of the trilogue discussions, and the text still needs to be formally agreed by Ministers, most probably at the next JHA Council in March 2016, although it could be agreed at an earlier Council.

"I apologise for not updating you on the Regulation before the Committee meeting on the 16th December; the trilogue negotiations were not concluded until late on the 15th December. In the final rush of the discussions, the UK managed to prevent the insertion of a provision, which was introduced at the last minute by the Presidency and the European Parliament, that required under 16 year-olds to gain parental consent before using most Internet websites.

"In light of this, as well as the fact that there was no prospect of a blocking minority with other Member States, the government did not withhold its support on the Regulation.

"I will write to you in the New Year with a more detailed update on the text, along with an update on the data protection Directive, where the consideration by the European Affairs Committee is still ongoing."

Previous Committee Reports

(a), (b) and (c): Fifteenth Report HC 342-xiv (2015-16), chapter 1 (16 December 2015); Eleventh Report HC 342-xi (2015-16), chapter 2 (2 December 2015); Seventh Report HC 342-vii (2015-16), chapter 5 (28 October 2015); Fifth Report HC 342-v (2015-16), chapter 5 (14 October 2015); First Report HC 342-i (2015-16), chapter 41 (21 July 2015); Thirty-six Report HC 219-xxxv (2014-15), chapter 11 (11 March 2015); Thirty-first Report HC 219-xxx (2014-15), chapter 5 (28 January 2015); Twenty-second Report HC 219-xxi (2014-15), chapter 9 (26 November 2014); Twelfth Report HC 219-xii (2014-15), chapter 8 (10 September 2014); Forty-seventh Report HC 83-xlii (2013-14), chapter 14 (30 April 2014); (a) and (b) Thirteenth Report HC 83-xiii (2013-14), chapter 24 (4 September 2013); Eighth Report HC 83-viii (2013-14), chapter 11 (3 July 2013); Third Report HC 83-iii (2013-14), chapter 15 (21 May 2013); Thirty-first Report HC 86-xxxi (2012-13), chapter 7 (6 February 2013); Twenty-sixth Report HC 86-xxvi (2012-13), chapter 11 (9 January 2013); Eighth Report HC 86-viii (2012-13), chapter 5 (11 July 2012); Fifty-ninth Report HC 428-liv (2010-12), chapters 7 and 8 (14 March 2012); (c) Thirty-sixth Report HC 83-xxxiii (2013-14), chapter 9 (12 February 2014).


1   Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner (joined party Digital Rights Ireland): C-362/14Back

2   Fifteenth Report HC 342-xv (2015-16), chapter 1 (16 December 2015) Back

3   Fifteenth Report HC 342-xv (2015-16), chapter 1 (16 December 2015) Back


 
previous page contents next page


© Parliamentary copyright 2016
Prepared 15 January 2016