Following concern over the slipping timetable of the EU draft Data Protection Regulation (‘the Regulation’), this week’s news from Jean-Claude Juncker, incoming President of the European Commission, that he is determined to finalise negotiations on the Regulation by the end of 2015 shall come as a welcome relief. In his nominations for a selection of new commissioners, Mr Juncker called for “finalising the negotiations on an ambitious Data Protection Regulation in 2015” and the “conclusion of negotiations on the reform of Europe’s data protection rules”.

The new Regulation has been in the pipeline since 2009, when the European Commission launched an online consultation process on new challenges for personal data protection, and, in January 2012, the Commission published its long awaited proposals for reform. The Regulation is passing through the EU’s ordinary legislative procedure and the next step in that process is for a consensus to be reached within the European Council of Ministers. Unlike the European Parliament, which was motivated to conclude its first reading before the recess for the elections to the European Parliament in May 2014, the Council has no external pressure to conclude its first reading, so this week’s commitment to finalising negotiations by the end of 2015 will be welcomed by many commentators.

The Council Working Group on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX) is due to discuss Chapter IV of the proposal and the right to be forgotten this week, a matter which has been the subject of a lot of attention following the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) judgment in Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos in May earlier this year. Our commentary on that ruling is available here.

Once the Regulation is adopted, it shall replace the current Directive (95/46/EC) on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data, and will apply directly in all member states, without the need for implementation, two years after the date it comes into force.