Delay with EU DP draft Regulation: Lack of political will or tricky technical issues?

Speaking at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels yesterday, Paul Nemitz, Director, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship part of the European Commission, argued that ministers have to take charge now for progressing the legislative package - there is no technical issue that could not be resolved. Commenting on the current draft, Nemitz said that while it is not perfect, it is important to have it approved to ensure legal certainty and send a political signal to the US after the surveillance revelations.

Nemitz also said that as long as the draft Regulation is not finished, there is growing pressure from the US to include data protection in trade negotiations, which is something the EU does not favour.

The head of the Polish Data Protection Authority, Dr Wojciech Wiewiorowski, on the other hand, blamed the Commission for not defending its draft when negotiating with the Council. The Commission has failed to explain to the Council exactly what needs to be achieved, he said. "The package cannot now be adopted before April."

Wiewiorowski, who also has an observer role in DAPIX, the Council's DP Working Party, said that the worst case scenario, not having a new framework until 2020, is looking more and more likely as some Member States such as Poland, previously favourable to the Regulation, are now withdrawing their support. (This is a personal view and is not the official position of the Polish government)

Philippos Mittleton, representing the Greek Presidency of the European Union, said that he thinks progress can be made - Greece is keen to achieve consensus and visible results.