European Commission addresses MEPs concerns about free flow of non-personal data


On 12 October, the European Commission and Parliament’s IMCO committee exchanged views on the proposal for a regulation on the free flow of non-personal data. The proposal aims to remove legislative and administrative barriers. It will try to reduce duplication of data storage, and ensure cross-border accessibility of data. According to the Commission, data localization restrictions prevent businesses from switching data storage and service providers in other member states, and impacts the EU data economy.

Deputy Director General of DG CONNECT, Ms Bury, expressed that this proposal is important considering the value of the EU data economy. It currently entails a value of €300 billion, and is supposed to grow eighteen times larger in the coming ten years. Ms Bury mentioned the removal of disproportionate data localization restrictions will benefit to the growth projections. She noted that there should be lock-in services for cloud service providers, and clearer legal certainty on cross-border data storage and accessibility. This would unlock benefits for SME’s and start-ups to expand the scope of their activities.

In response, MEPs raised two particular issues. Ms Stihler (S&D) and Mr Schwab (EPP) addressed the possible overlap with the GDPR. Ms Charanzova (ALDE) asked what the exceptions entail, and they will be assessed. With regards to GDPR, Ms Bury stated there is no cross-over between non-personal data and the GDPR. As the GDPR is solely focusing on personal data, the two regulations interact and complement each other.

With regards to the exceptions, they will only be in place when a member state can show the removal of data localization restrictions is in breach with the public security. She stressed that member states should always refer to the transparency directive, and the same proportionality assessments should apply for all.

Click here to watch last week’s IMCO committee meeting.