After the Italian term, the Latvian Prime Minister, Mrs. Laimdota Straujuma, took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Prime Minister, during the debate before the European Parliament, outlined the priorities of her country’s term (you can find here the programme containing the main topics on the agenda).

Among other things, Mrs. Straujuma stressed the importance of building a stronger and more coherent European data protection framework, underlying the necessity to seek an agreement on the Data Protection Regulation (the “Regulation“).

Further to the approval by the European Parliament on the latest draft of the Regulation, the final framework shall now be determined on the basis of an agreement to be reached at the Council level. However, at present, the Council does not seem to have achieved a consolidated approach through the latest negotiating sessions (with a formal declaration on this yet to be made).

Among the outstanding issues which are still under the review of the Council (also see our colleagues highlights here and here) we can list the following:

  1. data transfer to non-EU countries: according to the current draft of the Regulation, should a third country request an entity (for instance a social network or cloud provider) to disclose personal information processed in the EU, then such entity would be required to seek an authorization from the national data protection authority;
  2. profiling: the current Regulation seems to limit profiling activities, which will be allowed only subject to the data subject’s consent or when provided by law or when needed to fulfill a contract. In addition to the above, such practices should not lead to discrimination or be based only on automated processing; moreover certain data sets would be prohibited for use in a profiling situation, such as administrative sanctions and judgments and gender identifiers;
  3. the concept of a “one-stop-shop”: according to the current draft, companies that operate in several EU countries will have one designated regulator in Europe, based upon the country of establishment for the company’s main activities. The issue would therefore be relevant for consumers, who might face some difficulties when complaining against a company established in a country other than their own place of jurisdiction.

Given that the above (and further issues) are still subject to discussion between EU member states, will the Latvian presidency be able to finalize the Regulation by June 2015, the end date of its term?

In any event there will still be a lot of time before the new provisions are implemented as the Regulation will come into force two years after its finalization and adoption by the European Parliament.