Italian Council Presidency shifts focus in Data Protection debate


The Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which takes office for six months starting 1 July 2014, intends to fully shift the focus of the Council debates on the data protection reform.

Rome is the fourth consecutive Presidency to tackle the hot issue of data protection and progress in Council debates is slow. As the first Presidency, it was difficult for the Irish to steer the debate conclusively, after which the Lithuanian EU Presidency took over and focused on its one stop shop proposal. In the past months, Athens has managed to reach agreement on the conditions for international data transfers.

Rome intends to focus on institutional issues, starting with coverage of data protection in the public sector. An item on which countries still remain divided for example is to include public services as companies that could receive fines up to 2% of their annual turnover if they do not comply with the rules in the new regulation.

The Italian Presidency is even more ambitious in their intentions to resume the discussion on citizen’s rights established by the proposal. This contains items which are currently hotly debated in Europe; explicit consent to the commercial use of data and the rights to data deletion. The latter has been enshrined by European Court of Justice in the historic “Google case”.  Member States however remain deeply divided over the content of the new regulation.

Whereas the Italians know their agenda is ambitious, they do aim for reaching a general approach – the European Parliament is eagerly awaiting this as they have already approved an initial version of the data protection regulation.

Ecommerce Europe has recently published its new position paper on Privacy & Transparency, featuring recommendations for stakeholder collaboration on achieving a balanced approach to data protection. Please download the full paper