EU Council of Ministers takes a step away from total harmonisation

At the EU Council of Ministers Home and Justice Affairs meeting 4 December in Brussels, the ministers agreed a partial general approach on data processing in the public sector. This proposal by the Council would allow for some flexibility for the Member States’ public sector which should be allowed to maintain or introduce national provisions to further specify how the Regulation’s rules would be applied.

The Ministers have not reached full agreement on the One Stop Shop. The Presidency proposes a model which would enhance "proximity"; the One Stop Shop mechanism should only intervene in important cross-border cases. Processing situations affecting only one Member State or persons in only one Member State should continue being dealt with by the local DPA.

The Council’s press office states that the majority of ministers endorsed the general architecture of the proposal and the Presidency concluded that further technical work will need to be done in the coming months.

Andrea Orlando, Italy’s Minister for Justice and President of the Council, said: "Today we have agreed on two of the most politically sensitive issues on data protection reform. We see this as an important result for the Presidency, and a decisive step towards achieving global agreement on this complex and important file".

However, as always, the Council states that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.’

PL&B has organised a Roundtable on the progress of the EU Data Protection draft Regulation under Italy’s Presidency in London on 11 December. 

PL&B International and UK Reports contain articles each month on the progress of the DP draft Regulation.