The European Parliament voted strongly in favour of the adoption of the new EU Data Protection Regulation in a plenary vote held last Wednesday (12 March 2014), with 621 votes in favour, 1 against and 22 abstentions. This vote was significant, as it means that the Parliament’s position is now set in stone and cannot alter even if its composition changes, as a result of the upcoming European elections in May. 

However, in order to become law, the proposed Regulation has to be adopted by the Council of Ministers (Europe’s other legislative body). Reports have suggested that Council members have been engaged in detailed debate regarding a number of key provisions contained in the proposed Regulation. Until a further announcement is made regarding the Council’s progress in its endeavours to agree a common position on these controversial proposals, it is impossible to predict when the new Regulation is likely come into force. 

The next meeting of the Council on data protection reform will take place in June 2014. A positive outcome would increase the likelihood of the new Regulation being adopted by the end of this year, although once adopted it will be subject to a 2-year grace period before coming into force.