On March 12, 2014, the European Parliament formally adopted the compromise text of the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation (the “Regulation”). The text now adopted by the Parliament is unchanged and had already been approved by the Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in October of last year. The Parliament voted with 621 votes in favor, 10 against and 22 abstentions for the Regulation.
In addition to adopting the compromise text of the Regulation, the Parliament adopted the compromise text of the Police and Criminal Justice Directive (the “Directive”).
The next steps for both the Regulation and the Directive are for the EU Council of Ministers to formulate a position and for trilateral negotiations between the European Commission, Parliament and Council to begin.
Safe Harbor Suspension
The Parliament also passed a resolution setting forth its findings and recommendations regarding the National Security Agency (“NSA”) surveillance program. Among other things, the resolution calls for:
- withholding the Parliament’s consent to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership if European data protection principles are not fully respected;
- suspending the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program until alleged breaches of the underlying data disclosure agreements have been fully clarified; and
- suspending the Safe Harbor Framework immediately, alleging it does not adequately protect European citizens.
The Parliament’s resolution does not have immediate consequences for the validity of the Safe Harbor Framework. The underlying agreements relating to the Safe Harbor Framework were entered into by the European Commission, and in Europe, the Commission alone is in a position to formally renegotiate the agreements.