In December, we reported that the European Parliament and Council had reached agreement on the text of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As 2015 drew to a close, the agreement was welcomed and approved by various European institutions. With the GDPR likely to be adopted early in 2016, the year is set to see the biggest shake-up of data protection law for two decades.

LIBE and Coreper

On 17 December, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee endorsed the draft text agreed by the European Parliament, Council and Commission. The following day, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) of the Council of the European Union confirmed the agreement on the compromise text. Coreper’s approval is significant as it is considered to represent one of the final steps toward adoption of the text.

Article 29 Working Party

The Article 29 Working Party (‘WP29’) issued a press release 21 December welcoming the agreement as a “major decision for European credibility”, and stated that it has already started working on ensuring a smooth and constructive transition for stakeholders. The WP29 has made important contributions to the development of the GDPR through a series of published opinions. It will continue to play an instrumental role as it takes on the position of a European Data Protection Board with responsibility for overseeing the ‘one-stop-shop’ arrangements.

UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

The UK’s data protection regulator has hailed agreement over the text as demonstrating the progress the EU is making in moving forward in today’s digital world. The ICO has also stated that its priority will be to ease the introduction of the new rules, and advises that the “best preparation for an organisation is to comply with the current law”.

What next?

There will be a legal-linguistic review of the agreed text, and its translation into the EU’s official languages. The text will then be submitted for adoption by the Council and Parliament, following which it will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Regulation will enter into force on the 20th day after publication. It is envisaged that the Regulation will formally come into effect in spring 2016, with the European Parliament indicating that this could be as early as March or April 2016.