On January 12, 2010, Ms. Viviane Reding, Commissioner-designate for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, was questioned during a public hearing before the European Parliament. During this hearing, Ms. Reding revealed her priorities in the field of privacy and data protection. “Fundamental rights and data protection will be top of the line” said Ms. Reding, who explained that she intends to incorporate the EU’s data protection rules into a modern and comprehensive legal instrument.

Ms. Reding promised that all proposed EU legislation will comply with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights (which entered into force on December 1, 2009), including the right to privacy. Ms. Reding also announced that she would work closely with the Council of Europe on fundamental rights issues and would soon be presenting a proposal for the EU’s accession to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

When asked about the protection of personal data in international agreements (with regard to issues such as banking data, air passenger name records and body scanners), Ms. Reding replied that “our need for security cannot justify any violation of privacy” and that she would not let anyone dictate “rules that go against fundamental rights on anti-terrorism grounds.”

View the EU press release.

View Ms. Viviane Reding’s answers to the European Parliament’s questionnaire.